Dec. 5, 2017 – The really good deals on homes are becoming increasingly harder to find as the U.S. housing market remains ever so slightly in buy territory, according to the latest national index produced by Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University faculty.
The Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index shows it is a virtual toss-up as to whether buying or renting would produce greater wealth, on average.
“With exception for parts of the Midwest, most of the ‘buy low’ deals are out of the market,” said Ken Johnson, Ph.D., a real estate economist and one of the index’s creators in FAU’s College of Business. “This does not necessarily mean that it is a bad time to purchase. It simply means that potential purchasers should bargain more aggressively.”
Of the 23 separate metro areas in the BH&J Index, 11 are slightly to moderately in buy territory, while 10 metro areas are slightly to moderately in rent territory. Two cities, Dallas and Denver, remain deep in rent territory, suggesting the potential for what Johnson calls a near-term pricing event. This could indicate a decline in property prices, the likelihood of property transactions falling, property marketing times increasing, or a combination of all three.
Based on numbers from the end of the third quarter of 2017, the latest BH&J Buy vs. Rent Index follows recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index scores, which showed home prices rose 6.2 percent over the past year, indicating consistent demand at a time when the inventory of homes has been persistently scarce.
Both the BH&J Index and Case-Shiller Home Price Index employ housing price appreciation from markets around the U.S. Unlike Case-Shiller, the BH&J Index includes additional sources such as rent prices, mortgage rates and alternative investment data streams, among others variables, to indicate why and when housing markets might be changing direction.
“On average, both home and rental prices experienced modest gains in recent months, while financial markets continued to deliver healthy returns and mortgage rates remained low and stable,” said Eli Beracha, Ph.D., co-creator of the index and associate professor in the Hollo School of Real Estate at FIU.