First time home buying women have been leading the real estate purchase market in recent months, according the National Association of Realtors. In fact, first time homebuyer sales rose by 35% in October 2016, and at least 17% of those sales were by female first time home buyers.
Experts at the National Association of Realtors say that young women are settling down more and buying a home, after waiting to do so after the Great Recession of a few years ago. They say that demand has gone up in the last 12 months because there is a stronger job market for people who are college educated. Further, many young, professional women get tired of paying rent and want to enjoy equity in their home like so many other Americans. Here are some other big reasons that more women are taking the plunge and buying a home for the first time:
If you can borrow money to buy a home at under 4%, why wouldn't you do it? Rates have been supposed to rise for years, but the US government is continuing to keep them low so that the economy can continue to improve. With interest rates on a 15 year mortgage as low as 3%, many women are realizing that they can pay less for owning a home than renting, so it really makes a lot of sense to own rather than rent.
The housing industry cratered in 2008 and 2009 as the Great Recession took hold. But these days, the value of homes in most areas of the country have largely recovered, and values are going up. Many areas of the country are seeing home values increase by 5% per year or more. This makes buying a home for the first time very tempting. Women are realizing that they can see a significant increase in equity over time as prices are going up and they continue to pay down their mortgage.
Home prices in many areas are rising, which is a sign of a strong economy. But in many areas, prices are not rising completely out of sight as they often were a decade ago. A major exception is California and New York, where prices have risen beyond the means of many Americans. But many women who are looking to buy a home in the interior of the US will be able to find a good deal. For example, some of the more affordable areas of the US with homes under $200,000 on average include:
In the last five years as the country has suffered through the Great Recession and the aftermath, fewer people have been buying homes. This means that several million more American families today are renting instead of owning their home. This has created pressure on the rental market, and has generally led to an increase in rental prices across the US. So, for many parts of the country, you may end up paying more to rent a home than to buy it. Obviously, if this is the case, you should strongly consider buying a home.
There is no way to predict when or how much interest rates will go up, but it is likely to occur in the next few years. At some point, the Federal Reserve will decide that the economy has recovered enough and will start to raise rates to curb inflation. When that happens, you could see interest rates go up a full percentage point or more. This will cause your monthly mortgage cost to spike. Once you lock in a low interest rate in a 15 or 30 year mortgage, you can enjoy that rate for many years, regardless of what the current interest rates are. That is a very good reason to take the plunge as soon as you can.
Many young women are buying homes for the first time these days because there are more low down payment loans available than a few years ago. Many people still believe that you have to have 20% down to buy a home but that is not true. It IS true that 100% financing loans are pretty much gone, except for VA and USDA loans. But you are still able to buy a home with an FHA loan with only 3.5% down, which puts home ownership within reach for many women in the US. You also can get a 5% down mortgage loan from many conventional lenders. Both of these loan options mean that you can get into a home in many cases with only about $10,000 or less down.
After the Great Recession, mortgage lenders had strict lending criteria, and some people with 700 credit scores still could not get a mortgage loan. Fortunately, those days are behind us. Many lenders will now allow you to get a mortgage loan with a 640 or 680 credit score, and you can put down as little as 3.5% for an FHA loan or 5% for a conventional loan. Some FHA lenders will even let you get a loan with a 550 credit score, although you will be need to put 10% down.
The time is ripe generally for women to buy their first home in America today. Prices are very reasonable in many areas. Interest rates are very low, and credit requirements are quite reasonable. And, you can get a loan for 3.5% down in many cases. All of these factors often will make buying your first home a better option than renting year after year. So, talk to a lender today and consider making the home ownership plunge!
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