Click below to listen to Episode 106 – Should You Wait To Build or Buy A Home Today? It’s Just Math.

Should You Wait To Build or Buy A Home Today? It’s Just Math.

We put together some basic numbers to show why it might be better to wait to buy or build a home.

In this podcast, Bob and Shawn discuss the math behind why you should wait to build or buy a home right now. When COVID-19 hit, the Federal Reserve and government put over 8 trillion dollars into the economy to stimulate it. That’s over $24,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States. This created massive inflation, especially in real estate. Now, with the federal reserve saying they are going to raise interest rates back to normal, taper bond-buying by the billions of mortgage-backed securities, and reduce their balance sheet, homes prices will have to decline dramatically to compensate.

It’s just math.

HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
CO-HOST: Shawn Peters

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Shawn Peters
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COVID Money Tracker
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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Welcome to “Christian Financial Perspectives”, where you’re invited to gain insight, wisdom and knowledge about how Christians integrate their faith, life and finances with a Biblical Worldview. Here’s your host Christian Investment Advisor, Financial Planner, and Coach, Bob Barber.

[EPISODE]

Bob:
Welcome to the 106th podcast today. And we are going to share something with you that you just don’t hear often. It’s called, “Should you wait to buy a home?” Now, Shawn, you hear me talk about this a lot around here, about the economy and the federal reserve. These halls are always talking about economic stuff because that’s what we do. I really love this stuff. Some people are like, do you like anything else? But I really love economics.

Shawn:
Well, I think this is the perfect combination, to be honest, for a topic for us to be covering today because it’s an intersection of real estate, which really real estate, investing, and construction is where you got originally started, intersected with investing in the economy and what’s going on with the fed, you know? So like it’s kind of this perfect intersection of those two things that you’ve got a lot of experience, a lot of passionate about. So, I’m very excited to be talking about this today with you.

Bob:
Did uou get the chat I sent you this morning? I don’t know if you got it or not about rates starting to go up.

Shawn:
Yes. I saw that with the rates starting to go up. It’s interesting to see. Okay. Well, people including you have been sane for a while now, if the fed pulls back on how much money’s been getting put in.

Bob:
Yeah. All the bond buying.

Shawn:
If they start pulling back, even if they don’t artificially change the rates, it’s going to increase rates, and now it’s happening.

Bob:
You don’t even have to increase rates for the interest rate to increase. We have had an economy in the past 12 to 18 months that truly has been on amphetamines. We’ve had stimulus beyond comprehension, over $8 trillion so far. You can see I have a link in here and I found this link. I really like it. It’s by the committee for responsible federal budgeting. It’s called the COVID money tracker. If you want to go to that.

Shawn:
It’s covidmoneytracker.org if you’re listening and not looking at the website.

Bob:
I’m looking at it right now, and it’s just telling you how much money has been put into the economy. And you think about all this artificial stimulus. I think of it like amphetamines. When you take the 8 trillion that’s been thrown into the economy by the government and the federal reserve buying up of the bonds and the lowering of the interest rates. But if you take that 8 trillion, by the way, there’s 12 zeros in a trillion, and you divide that by every man, woman, and child in the United States, that comes out to approximately $24,000 per person. Now take a household, take your household of three, about to be four. Yeah. That’s $75,000 many people have two or three children. That’s over a $100,000 for an average household with children. Rachael and I, we’re empty nesters now, but I think about that much stimulus going into the economy, is that stimulus not going to drive prices up?

Shawn:
Absolutely, yeah. And part of me thinks a little bit of maybe they could have just sent the check to the house. Cause there’s a lot that I could have used that for, especially with baby number two due in March. I could have used an extra $75,000.

Bob:
Well, Shawn, they did send those checks to a lot of people, but maybe you didn’t get one.

Shawn:
Not that much though. Yeah. It was like, here’s your $1,500.

Bob:
Profits for the S&P 500 last year in the fourth quarter rose 22% just in the fourth quarter. And for the whole year, it nearly rose 50%. When you have that kind of money chasing this amount of goods. And we know also at the same time, because of COVID, we’ve all heard about all the containers sitting in Long Beach, California, where they come in from other countries.

Shawn:
They’re so delayed.

Bob:
You add on top of that historically low mortgage interest rates that’s gonna stimulate housing. It’s a perfect storm. And this is why we’re doing a podcast. Should you wait to buy a home now? And it’s just gonna be math that I’m gonna give you.

Shawn:
So when you say perfect storm, you are talking about perfect storm of just historically high prices for homes.

Bob:
Yeah. That’s right. We’ve created inflation housing that’s historic levels. Shawn, many are saying that we’ve got a bigger bubble today in housing than we did in 2008. You’ve just got too many dollars chasing too few goods. And I’m really concerned about this bubble. Not as much in the markets as I am in real estate. I’m really concerned about the bubble in real estate. We have that emotions buying chart that we follow around here. Six months ago, it was just buy, buy, buy real estate no matter the price. You would hear of someone putting their home on the market, and they put their home on the market at $350,000 and it sells for $400,000 because you’ve got 10 people wanting to buy that home. Yeah.

Shawn:
And out of 10 people, you had three or four people offering cash. And then the rest, everybody else was getting a loan for it. And yet it still goes for way over. I mean, it’s basically a bidding war.

Bob:
It has been, it’s been a bidding war. So you’ve got these artificially low interest rates that have really allowed builders and sellers and all the materials that go into homes. It’s allowed them to raise the prices with these artificially low rates because the buyers really didn’t care if the prices were raised, because the rates were so low, it still equaled the same payment. Do you understand what I mean by that?

Shawn:
For most home buyers, the family isn’t looking at really what the purchase price is, what they’re looking at is, okay, what interest rate can I get based on my credit and everything else. And what payment is that gonna end up being? So if their payment is $1,500 a month and they’re okay with that, well then interest rates being really low, obviously that’s gonna mean that the purchase price, what they can afford and what they can offer, is gonna be much higher. And as soon as interest rates start increasing even a little bit, that can drastically change. Okay, well, if it’s still $1500 for the payment, but the interest rate has gone up. Well, see the purchase price is gonna have to drop.

Bob:
It has to. It’s just math, right? It’s just math.

Shawn:
It’s just math. A lower interest rate for a certain dollar amount per month means a higher purchase price. A higher interest rate, certain payment per month, lower purchase price.

Bob:
The federal reserve is saying, you know what? We’re tired of giving out the free candy. All this stimulus over the next 18 months. You know what they’re promising, they’re promising interest rate increases. They’re tapering all this bond buying that they’ve been doing by the billions, over 130 billion per month, which is computed to over a trillion in wealth, in the trillions of dollars. At the same time, the fed is saying, we’re gonna reduce our balance sheet to get things back in balance. So you’ve got three kind of a triple which situation happening. The problem today is is interest rates have been so extremely low. We know last year, interest rates went as low as 2.5% to 3%. I remember hearing some people saying I’m getting 2.5% Percent on my mortgage. That’s insane.

Shawn:
I remember when Jenna and I bought our home. It’s been what, 12 years, I guess, 11 years, however long. But we were happy that we got under 5% at the time. Yeah. And to see the rates the way they’ve been for a number of years now, I mean, that’s crazy.

Bob:
And here’s the problem. I’m gonna use a whole number. They’re not even near anywhere this, but let’s say you have an interest rate of 10% and you increase the interest rate by 1%. It’s kind of a trick question. So you go from 10 to 11. Percentage wise, what have you increased the interest by, percentage wise?

Shawn:
That’s 10% right.

Bob:
Got it. That’s right.

Shawn:
The increase is relative to what the interest rate was, it was a 10% increase going from 10 to 11.

Bob:
That’s right.

Shawn:
I think I see where you’re going with this. If you have a really low interest rate and you increase by 1%, that’s much bigger difference.

Bob:
You go from 3% to just 4%. See, most people just think, well, you’ve only increased it by one. What have you increased?

Shawn:
You’ve actually increased it by 33%.

Bob:
That’s correct. That’s right.

Shawn:
Which is obviously, then if you’ve increased interest rates by 33%, then with how many people purchase based on the payment, like the monthly payment, then it may not necessarily be a direct correlation that housing prices will drop 33%, but they are going to have to drop significantly because of that interest rate change.

Bob:
That’s correct. That’s right. Remember, it’s just math. It’s just math. I have people and they look at me with this kind of deer in the headlights look. By the way, Shawn, have this as an article in our next newsletter. Should you build or buy a home now? I told you this, I sent it out to five realtors. I got one response. One. Now I don’t know why, but the one response I did get of the five realtors was the oldest. He said, Bob, you are dead on. You’re right on with what you’re are saying.

Shawn:
Because that realtor’s been around long enough to realize that that’s what happens.

Bob:
They don’t like hearing it.

Shawn:
It comes in cycles. There are times where prices are increasing. There are times where prices are coming back down.

Bob:
Have you ever met a realtor that wasn’t bullish? When we say bullish, like a bull market, it’s gonna go up. They don’t like to talk about being bearish. It doesn’t work out exactly like that, but I’ve got a real life example. I picked a home today, cause home prices have risen. The average home is gonna be around $400,000, 350k-450k. So I picked a home, a typical home, around $400-450,000, and let’s say you’re gonna go out and you’re gonna get a $400,000 mortgage. The payment on a $400,000 mortgage at a 3% fixed interest rate for 30 years is $1,686 with principle and interest. Does it make sense so far? So if rates go up by just 1%, which by the way, in just the past couple of months, they’ve risen. Since they’re getting tighter on the bond buying of the mortgages, they’ve risen by nearly 75 basis points as of today. Now, that could go down by the time the podcast comes out.

Shawn:
So, we’re already approaching almost a 1% increase overall.

Bob:
We’re getting close. So if rates go up by just 1% on that mortgage, the price of that home is gonna have to drop by $46,800 to equal the same payment at 3%.

Shawn:
Wow. Okay.

Bob:
You’re with me.

Shawn:
So in that case, if that family who’s looking at purchasing a home, they’ve got around $1,700 that they can spend between principal and interest. And if the interest rate goes up by 1%, now all of a sudden, instead of being able to offer $400,000, it’s gotta drop by that.

Bob:
To give them that same payment. Yeah, it does. It won’t happen at first.

Shawn:
Yeah. And well, it doesn’t mean that oh, interest rates went up by 1% and now all of a sudden go offer the seller $50,000 less. It doesn’t mean that it’ll happen immediately, but over time.

Bob:
Yeah. But over time, math is real. Sometimes our Congressman and senators don’t believe in math, but math is real. It’s just math. The crazy thing about all this is it’s already tightening, and the rates haven’t even gone up yet. It’s tightening because the fed is not buying all the mortgage backed bonds I’m expecting over the next 18-24 months that rates could go by up as much as 2%.

Shawn:
So would the math be on that?

Bob:
The math would be on that $400,000 mortgage, you’d have to drop the mortgage down by $86,000 to equal the same payment.

Shawn:
So it’s just math.

Bob:
It’s just math. You heard me last week when they came out and said, you better get going and go buy that home now before rates go up. Wait a second. Would you rather owe more at a lower interest rate or owe less at a higher interest rate if the payment was the same? I’m gonna say that again. Okay. Cuz you gotta really get this. Would you rather owe more at a lower interest rate or owe less at a higher interest rate if the payment was the same?

Shawn:
I would rather owe less even at a higher interest rate because with the payments being the same, it gives me more of an opportunity to pay it off sooner if I have the opportunity to do so. For my wife and I, we didn’t get a 2.5% interest rate cuz when we bought the house, but it wasn’t bad, especially for the time. But for us, we’ve made a commitment for the last number of years that we’ve been paying more than the minimum payment or the normal monthly payment for many, many years. And that’s helped us to where now we’re just a few short years from having it completely paid off. But part of that is because rather than having a lower interest rate and much higher purchase price, we had a slightly higher interest rate with a lower purchase price, which has given us the opportunity to save interest and cut the time down in how soon we can pay it off.

Bob:
We’ve only covered one side of this too, Shawn. What about when you wanna sell your home? And most people don’t stay in homes today more than three to five, six years. That’s true. So if you wanna sell your home, I’d rather have the higher interest rates, as long as my payment was the same, and owe less.

Shawn:
All right. Because then it’s easier to avoid getting upside down. But if you go and rush out because you’re thinking, oh no interest rates are about to go up and you buy a house at a higher purchase price. Well, what that means then is you’re actually increasing the chances that when you move – cuz you’re right – a lot of people move more often for a lot of different reasons, maybe for a better job, but you’re increasing the chances that you’re gonna have to sell it at or below maybe what you purchased it for.

Bob:
And I will tell you, anyone that lived and owned a home during the mid to late 1980s to the early 1990s, they’ll tell you it was painful owing more on their home than it was worth. You see? Like I said, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the builders are going to immediately drop their prices by that much for the same type of home, but they will be giving into that pressure.

Shawn:
Well, they have to cause it’s the market demand. If your buyers are not willing or able.

Bob:
They’re not able, they’re already maxed out on payments.

Shawn:
If they’re not able to pay as much as they have been paying, you either don’t sell the home or you lower the price.

Bob:
And it happened in the eighties. Let me tell you right here in my hometown of New Braunfels. Which by the way, is one of the hottest spots in America right now. We know the Austin/San Antonio corridor is one of the hottest places to be in. And when I tell people New Braunfels has had a bear market in real estate, they look at me like a deer in the headlights look, like really? Yes. In the 1980s, there was a subdivision here in town that we were building and my brother was building. Remember, I was head of the financial part of it. Homes that were selling for around $120,000 – $130,000 in 1985, 86, we were able to come in and build that same home in 87/88 for $70,000 to $85,000. So those people were way upside down. Like, how were you able to do that? Because when the economy went bad or we were forced to because of math, okay. I remember framers – now framers are so much more expensive today. They’ll charge $5 to frame of house today, but back then they were charging a $1.50 before the downturn, they went as low as 50 cents a square foot to frame a home. And we just saw materials go down, the prices of land and lots went way down.

Shawn:
So the materials, the labor, the land, when all that stuff has dropped, the average price for the market, obviously that means as a builder, you would be able to drop what you’re selling the homes for significantly and still be profitable.

Bob:
And the builders will do it. The builders, they wanna keep employed. All the subcontract and tradesmen want to keep employed. We saw the same thing, not in the building business, but we saw the same thing in the Eagle Ford shell oil boom when oil was selling at $80, $90, $100 a barrel. And when it dropped down to below $30, everybody thought that’s the end of the oil boom in South Texas, everyone lowered their prices by 50-60% and 70% it can be done. So, I am very concerned right now for anyone that wants to build or buy a new home. They’re going to be upside down in that home because the interest rates are increasing at nearly historic links, percentage wise. Cause when you go from 3% to 5%, you’re raising interest rates by 67%. We gave the example of just a $400,000 home, having to lower that by $86,000, you know that compounds, Shawn. You look at a $700,000 or an $800,000 home, now you’re talking $150,000 that you may need to lower that home by.

Shawn:
Now really, Bob, it’s not so much that you’re telling everyone that if you’re looking at buying a home, you’re going to be upside down. It’s more of again, it’s the math. Statistically, and with the way this plays out in the markets, the chances of you being upside down if you’re rushing to purchase something now at a higher price to get that lower interest rate, the chances of you being upside down in the near future is much higher. So it’s just obviously, like you said, it’s just something to consider. So if you’re in one of those positions where you don’t have to buy right now, maybe wait a little bit.

Bob:
Good time to sell, but not a really good time to buy. Because it’s just math. It’s just math. Okay. If you’re hearing this and you’re going, Bob, you’re crazy. Look, it’s just math. That’s all it is. All I’m doing is just sharing with you math and my advice. This is just me and I’ve been wrong. I’m not the perfect analyst.

Shawn:
And certain markets may be slightly different or they may be delayed.

Bob:
It may be. And people here in Texas are going. Yeah. But the Californians keep selling. They keep coming. Well, the Californians may not be able to sell. I’ve talked with several Californians that say your prices in Central Texas are becoming high as our prices.

Shawn:
Yeah. In certain areas. Yeah.

Bob:
Like in Austin. Yeah. My advice is, if you’re thinking about buying or building home today is to be patient. Be patient and possibly wait, cause I do have a feeling you’re gonna be very glad you did. And like I said earlier, we’re in a bigger bubble today than we were back in 2008 because rates have never been this slow and even a slight increase in those interest rates is a large percentage up.

Shawn:
That’s a great point. Yep.

Bob:
Any last things you wanna say, Shawn, as you hear this.

Shawn:
Yeah. I mean, I know people talk a lot about the joys of home ownership and how everyone should own a home, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean there has to be a rush for it. There’s nothing wrong with renting until it’s the right time to buy. If we’re running into this situation, like we are now, where we’ve had such low rates for a long period of time, we’ve seen continued increase in home prices. You don’t have to buy. There’s another option. Either wait or maybe rent for a little while. Because that’s the other thing too, is people move into a new area for a job and may not really know the area yet. And even if they think they’re getting a good deal, it may not be somewhere you really wanna live and plant your roots. So if you have to move for a job and you’re like, well I have to buy soon because entry’s gonna increase. I would argue to say, wait a little bit, rent somewhere maybe for a year, and get to know the area if you’re moving into there. Because inevitably, we’re gonna see lower prices.

Bob:
Based on math.

Shawn:
Yeah. And don’t take that risk for yourself or your family of moving into something quickly, only to turn around a few years later when you need to sell and realize I can’t even sell my house for what I bought it for.

Bob:
I saw it happen back in the early nineties where they would want to sell their home cause they needed to and guess what they’re having to do on the day of closing? They’re having to come up with money out of their pocket to sell. And I have heard several clients, because we’ve talked about this conversation, in my office in just the past two or three weeks I’ve had several that have had to do that. I don’t want you as my podcast listener having to do that. I would recommend that if you know anybody that’s thinking about buying or building a home right now, send a link to this podcast and tell ’em about this particular program. Should you wait to build or buy a new home today?

Shawn:
So I guess in summary, it sounds like sell quick if you are needing to sell because you may not sell for any higher, so sell quick. But when you are looking at buying or building, maybe rent for a little bit, hold off, don’t rush to buy. Cuz interest rates are going up. You’re actually doing the opposite of probably what you should do because it’s just math.

Bob:
It’s just math and we hope this has been helpful. We wanna thank you for listening to today’s podcast. If you wanna talk about this, feel free to give us a call at (830) 609-6986. You can call or text to that number, and our website address is Christianfinancialadvisors.com. Thank you for listening.

[CONCLUSION]

That’s all for now.

We invite you to listen to all of our past episodes covering many financial topics from a Christian Perspective. To make sure you don’t miss any of Bob’s upcoming episodes you can subscribe to Christian Financial Perspectives on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, or Stitcher. To learn more about integrating your faith with your finances, visit ciswealth.com or call 830-609-6986.

[DISCLOSURES]

Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc dba Christian Financial Advisors, also known as Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the host, Bob Barber and his guests. Bob does not provide tax advice and encourages you to seek guidance from a tax professional. While Christian Investment Advisors believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability.