Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Ask the professionals who are supposed to know the answer and you’ll get someone else to blame. Realtors fault lenders for making it too difficult to get a mortgage. Lenders blame the government for creating an environment where constantly changing regulations create confusion and delay. The government says the real problem is companies who aren’t investing profits to create more jobs that will make it possible for families to buy homes.
Some people are buying homes despite these complaints—about 4.6 million this year, virtually the same number as last year but 1.1 million fewer sales than in 2007. That was the year houses cost 30 percent more than they do now and the rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 6.3 percent, compared to 4 percent today.
So much for buying low and selling high.
Two recent surveys, one by Move, Inc., the company that operates Realtor.com, and the other by Fannie Mae, help us better understand what’s happening on the demand side of the housing equation.
Move, Inc. survey findings
Move recently studied buyers and found that one out of four Americans still plans to buy a home—just not any time soon. In fact only 2 percent of future buyers said they are committed to going ahead in the next 12 months. Asked what might motivate them to move faster, buyers gave virtually equal weight to three answers: they lack the money for a down payment and or closing costs (55.1 percent); they think home prices will stabilize and or increase (53.1 percent); and they are concerned about their jobs or lack confidence in the economy as a whole (52.5 percent).
To those of us who track these issues over time, raising a down payment has been the number one hurdle for buyers, even during the days of easy money. Concern about the economy is surely a real concern, but it’s not unique to housing. What jumps off the page is the idea that buyers are waiting for prices to fall even further.
Fannie Mae survey results
Fannie Mae’s October national housing survey found consumers’ outlook for the housing market has remained downbeat, as they expect home prices to decline over the next year, extending the streak of negative outlooks to five consecutive months.
“The fact that sentiment appears to be in a holding pattern at depressed levels is a cause for concern for the development of the housing market and for the economy as a whole, as there will be no meaningful economic recovery without a housing recovery,” said Fannie’s Chief Economist Douglas Duncan.
What are buyers worried about?
It’s no secret why buyers think home prices will fall more. The latest forecast from Fiserv calls for a 3.6 percent home price decline before next June, but it’s just one of several predicting further declines. Buyers also aren’t worried about interest rates. As long as the economy is lifeless, they know rates will be as well.
What buyers are worried about are their jobs and the overall economy, which, as Duncan noted, isn’t going anywhere until housing improves. As for housing, there’s nothing wrong on the supply side, with plentiful inventories and the best prices in a decade. It’s the demand side that’s the problem.
The answer everyone seems to be waiting for
If only we had a million or so more buyers, then housing would improve, housing prices would rise, and so would home values. That would help the overall economic recovery. The recovery would make potential buyers feel more confident about their jobs and they would start buying, which would bolster prices even more and then even more buyers would buy because they would know the bottom was past. The more that prices rise, the stronger the economy will be and the more buyers will buy. Simple?
Perhaps the new by-word is “Wait too long and buy high.”
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.