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Today’s Housing

WHAT’S THE STATE of the property market? Here are the latest statistics:

  • Home prices rose 3.8% in 2019, as measured by S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. Among major cities, Phoenix saw the largest increase, climbing 6.5%. Meanwhile, Chicago and New York were the weakest major urban markets, up just 1%. Nationally, home prices are up 58.6% since the early 2012 market low, but are just 15.2% above the mid-2006 peak.
  • Existing single-family homes sold for a median $287,700 in May 2020, up 2.4% from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors. Meanwhile, existing condos sold for $252,300, down 1.6% from May 2019. These averages disguise huge variations, with even modest homes in cities on the two coasts often costing three or five times as much.
  • As of mid-2020, a 30-year fixed rate mortgage cost 3.3%, down from 4% at year-end 2019. Interest rates slumped in early 2020 amid the economic shutdown triggered by the coronavirus.
  • Housing affordability improved in 2019, calculates the National Association of Realtors. Affordability is assessed by looking at the typical home price, typical family income and current mortgage rates. Home prices rose during 2019, but median incomes also climbed and mortgage rates fell, helping to make housing more affordable.
  • First-time home buyers have a median age of 32, a median household income of $75,000 and account for a third of house purchases, says the National Association of Realtors.
  • If you remodel your home and then sell within a year, you’ll recoup an average 63.7% of the money spent—meaning you’ll lose 36 cents of every $1 spent, according to the 2020 cost vs. value report from Remodeling magazine.
  • How much does a good school district add to a home’s value? A 2016 Realtor.com study found that homes within the boundaries of higher rated public school districts are, at an average $400,000, 49% more expensive than the national median and 77% more expensive than homes in lower ranked districts.
  • Homeownership has been declining over the past dozen years but remains widespread, with 63.7% of American families owning their home and 13.8% owning a place that isn’t their main residence, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances. That 13.8% includes second homes, rental properties and time shares. The survey also found that, among homeowners, 65.7% have a mortgage or other debt that’s secured by their home.
  • Homes are a major asset for the typical American family—far more significant than stocks, which are owned by just half of all households. As of 2020’s first quarter, the Federal Reserve puts the value of U.S. households’ real estate holdings at $30.3 trillion. For comparison, there’s $8.4 trillion in 401(k) and other employer-sponsored defined contribution plans, and $9.7 trillion in individual retirement accounts, according to the Investment Company Institute.

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