Everyone is intensely focused on the prices of home when the real focus should be the ability to write a check for the monthly mortgage payment. The low mortgage rate environment has resulted in substantially smaller payments, allowing home prices to rise considerably as well.
Everyone is acutely aware that home prices have been soaring for the past year-and-a-half. They have far exceeded the runup in values prior to the Great Recession. This has many people on edge, wondering how values can continue to rise beyond their current record highs. In focusing just on prices, it is no wonder they fear an end to the pandemic housing run.
In analyzing today’s housing market, it is not just about home prices. Household incomes and mortgage rates over time tell a completely different story. In 1980, the median detached home price in Orange County was $108,000. That sounds incredibly cheap and an unbelievable deal; however, mortgage rates averaged 13.75% and the median household income was only $22,000. The monthly mortgage payment was a larger proportion of a new homeowner’s monthly income than today.
Buyers should ultimately approach the home purchasing process by taking a careful look at their family budgets. What a buyer pays should be in alignment with their budget and monthly payment comfort level. After purchasing, buyers will be sitting down and writing a check out to the mortgage company each and every month. After closing escrow, they will no longer care too much about how much they paid for their home. Instead, they will care about the monthly mortgage payment that is deducted from their checking account for the next 30 years.