As rents continue to rise, it may be a good time to think about buying.
A recent rent analysis by Zillow showed that the minimum hourly wage necessary for median rent in Honolulu is now $47, placing it towards the top of the list of the most unaffordable places for renters. The problem for millenials is that they want to be where the jobs are, yet home ownership rates in this metropolitan area are usually less affordable to these younger individuals. In Honolulu, “20-34 year-olds account for at least 23.5% of the population, but fewer than 30% of homes for sale” in this market is within reach for the majority of them.
Although rents are high, making it difficult to save up for a mortgage that is just as pricey, mortgage rates and down payments are low enough to entice many first-time buyers. As Zillow economist Stan Humphries states, “The allure of fixed housing payments and building wealth through home equity will draw more buyers out of rentals and into home ownership.”
While browsing through the current listings I am sure you came across some beautiful condos/homes with what seem to be unrealistic prices. Did you inquire about these properties wondering if the price was entered wrong or if they are a scam?
Take for example beachfront, 1,555 square foot, 2-bed condo right in Kahala, one of Oahu’s most prestigious neighborhoods for just $120,000.
These properties are called “Lease-hold” (LH) ownership as opposed to “fee-simple” (FS). Fee-simple ownership is what you may already be familiar with. FS ownership is the most complete, meaning you own the land and any improvements made on the land.
With LH ownership you own the unit/house while you pay the lessor a monthly lease rent for use of the land. As the lessee, you don’t own the rights of the land, just the ability to use it exclusively, or freely transfer ownership for the remaining years of the lease. The lease will usually include a clause providing that any improvements such as a home or building will be surrendered to the FS landowner upon expiration of the lease.
When purchasing a LH property, as the buyer, you are responsible for property taxes, maintenance fees, a monthly lease-rent, and your mortgage, if financed. It is important to factor in all variables when budgeting and predicting cash flow.
Often times, lessors offer a “fee conversion,” where they sell their leased fee interest land to leasehold owners, so it is possible to obtain FS ownership on certain LH properties. Don’t count these properties out when consulting with your Realtor.
With real estate prices skyrocketing, coming up with funds for a down payment can be a huge obstacle to home ownership. It is important to look at all of your options in addition to the standard conventional loan requiring a 10-20 percent down payment.
Although few lenders offer zero-down loans today, there are some great programs that allow consumers with good credit and a steady income to buy with little to no down payment.
-USDA Rural Development loans
-State and local homebuyer programs
Contact me today to see if we can out you on the path to home ownership!
We usually associate luxury real estate with the baby boomer generation, but there’s a huge opportunity with millennials. This younger generation makes up about one-third of the population and the interest to purchase continues to grow. Luxury doesn’t necessarily mean “large” homes to them; it means functional, creative spaces. Additionally, millennials are knowledgeable when it comes to investing real estate. They are constantly looking for ways to grow their personal wealth without the risk of engaging in the stock market.
Millennials are now getting to the point where they’re settling down and considering big-ticket purchases, the main one being a home. According to Bloomberg Business, by about 2020, they will represent the majority of the workforce with an annual spending of $400 billion, and even though they seem to still value the idea of home ownership, don’t go ahead and assume they will go about it the same way their parents did.
This generation grew up right in the middle of the perfect storm that was the Great Recession. Because of this, they seem to be more careful with their spending decisions, especially incredibly large ones. With a somewhat cautious mindset as a result of stagnant wages, rampant unemployment and lingering memories of the housing crisis, Millennials seem to be opting for rentals over home ownership at the moment.