remains strong. Results from the National Association of Realtors® Commercial
Real Estate Market Surveyshow vacancy rates in the multifamily sector are
decreasing, meaning apartment availability, or landlord-owned spaces, is
tightening. As a result, rents arerising – creating a landlord’s market.
Coupled with this trend, a number of recent surveys show the American dream is
still alive and well. According to a recent report from the Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars, 75 percent of current renters hope to
purchase ahome of their own in the near future. Another study, commissioned by a
large real estate valuation firm, found that three out of four Americans
still aspire to own a home and consider it a life goal.
Denise Pilkington of the Johnston County Association of REALTORS®
isn’t surprised that consumers continue to aspire to homeownership.
“Homeownership is an investment in your future, and Americans recognize the
benefits it bring sover time,” said Pilkington. “For many people, rising rents
can drive the value of ownership home– after all, a fixed-rate mortgage might
last 15 to 30 years; renting is forever.”
According to NAR’s Commercial Real Estate Market Survey, the average apartment
rent is expected to rise 3.8 percent this year compared to 2.2 percent last year,
and the trend ison track to continue into 2013.
The decision to own a home is a very personal one, but given today’s
market conditions, it makes sense for people to consider homeownership over
renting. Fixed-rate mortgages remain at record lows, which means that a mortgage
payment could be cheaper than monthly rent. And unlike rent, a fixed-rate
mortgage won’t steadily increase at the landlord’s discretion.
Owning a home has also never been more affordable. NAR’s Housing Affordability
Index rose to a record high of 205.9 in the first quarter of 2012, the first time
the quarterly index has broken the 200mark since record keeping began in 1970.
The combination of median home price, median family income, and current interest
rates has opened a door for families who may have been previously shut out of
homeownership. The index shows that in the first quarter, the median income
family earning just under $61,000 could afford a home costing $325,500, more than
double the national median existing single-family home price of $158,100.
“As landlords continue to raise rents to keep up with market conditions, and
renters adapt to lifestyle changes that require more financial stability and
long-term planning, homeownership is one of the best ways build a solid
foundation for the future – of our families, our communities and ou rnation,”
said Pilkington. “Despite the challenges of today’s economy, the dream
of homeownership remains stronger than ever in the hearts of Americans, and
Realtors® are committed to keeping that dream alive for current and future