As a mortgage lender, I’ve promoted June as National Home Ownership month for many years in many ways, but this year has special meaning.
After the economic and housing challenges of recent years, June 2012 truly represents the right time to buy for many households. Interest rates are at historic lows. Property values are at or near their lowest level. In many areas, buying costs less than renting. Affordability, as measured by the National Association of Realtors, is very high. The supply of properties on the market is plentiful, although demand is increasing, so the upward pressure on prices is beginning in some local markets. The financial benefits of home ownership are significant.
The intangible benefits of home ownership have also recently been confirmed by several new studies. Children of home owners are healthier, stay in school longer, and are more successful in school. Owning a home may give someone more security, more privacy, and more freedom to make their home their own.
Not everyone should buy a home, however. If you expect to leave the area within a few years, if you have other large purchases pending, or if you expect an income decrease, buying a home may not be a good choice at this time. National Home Ownership Month is a good time to review your financial goals. If buying a home is not a short term goal, it is never too early to begin planning for the long term and learning how to prepare for ownership.
Misconceptions about home ownership abound, and this is a good time to clarify some important facts:
- There are many responsible loan programs available to serve a variety of customer needs. Lenders want to make loans to qualified households!
- Generous down payment assistance is available to first time home buyers, veterans, and income-eligible move up buyers. (and funds are available on a first-come, first served basis)
- Free consultations are available, whether buying is a short term or longer term goal.
- You can make a difference in simplifying the process by providing income, credit, and other documentation as early in the process as possible.
Working with Standard Bank Mortgage loan officers could not be simpler. You can start the free consultation in person, by phone, or online!
To stay up to date on our financial services subscribe to the Standard Bank Blog and like us on Facebook.