The housing crisis of the last decade was partially caused by unhealthy levels of mortgage debt. Homeowners were using their homes as ATMs by refinancing and swapping their equity for cash.
When prices started to fall, many homeowners found themselves in a negative equity situation (where their mortgage was higher than the value of their home). As a result, they walked away. This caused prices to fall even further.
Headlines are again talking about record levels of mortgage debt, making the comparison to the challenges that preceded the housing crash. However, cumulative debt is not an important data point. If we look at the debt as a percentage of disposable personal income, we are at an all-time low.
Here’s a visual representation of mortgage debt as a percent of income: Furthermore, according to a new report from ATTOM Data Solutions, more than 1-in-4 homes with a mortgage have at least 50% equity. The report explains:
“[O]ver 14.5 million U.S. properties were equity rich — where the combined estimated amount of loans secured by the property was 50 percent or less of the property’s estimated market value — up by more than 834,000 from a year ago to a new high as far back as data is available, Q4 2013.”
Unlike 2008, homeowners have a comfortable level of mortgage debt and are sitting on massive amounts of home equity. They will not be walking away from their homes if the housing market begins to soften.
Start Your Home Search:
Are you ready to start searching for your next home? It’s a great time, we have more inventory than we did the past few years. I encourage you to explore homes currently on the market to get a feel for the types of homes, locations, and price points. My Denver real estate blog has loads of useful information for home buyers trying to figure out what they want to do. And of course, please call me, or send me an email / text, to discuss your next home and the buying process.
Also, if you are considering new construction, remember the builder’s real estate agent represents the builder’s interest, not your’s. There is no cost for you to have a buyer’s agent represent you. In fact, I may be able to help you save money and negotiate for extras which the builder may not let you know about.
Considering Selling Your Home?
If you are looking to sell your home in the Denver area, I encourage you to work with a real estate agent who has the experience and knowledge to provide an accurate market comparison so you can determine the right asking price. The market is more balanced now and your asking price is an important component of your selling strategy. Contact me today to learn how your home stacks up against the competition and how we can position your property to sell quickly and for a fair price.