In the record-setting housing market of 2021, homeownership has become the dividing line for a fractured economy that’s racing toward extremes. Real estate values have surged by almost 25% since the beginning of the pandemic, creating more than $1 trillion in new wealth for existing homeowners. Many of them have used that money to buy investment properties and second homes, further driving up prices while first-time buyers increasingly struggle to afford anything at all.
Homeowners on average are now reported to have as much as 80 times greater net worth than renters, who continue to suffer disproportionately from some of the pandemic’s worst effects: high rates of unemployment, eviction and a historic increase in the cost of living.
For years, Boston’s real estate has been considered the best investment you can make. A major reason for this is due to the net worth a household gains through homeownership. In fact, according to the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finance Data from the Federal Reserve, for the average homeowner:
“…a primary home accounts for 90% of the total wealth of a family in the U.S.”
Most large purchases, like cars and appliances, depreciate in value as they age, so it’s understandable to question how owning a Beacon Hill home can increase wealth over time. In a simple equation, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) explains how the combination of paying your mortgage and home price appreciation grow overall wealth:
As home values increase and you make payments toward your home loan, you’ll gain wealth through equity. The same article from NAR also addresses how wealth gains tend to play out over time:
“Housing wealth accumulation takes time and is built up by paying off the mortgage debt and by price appreciation. And while home prices can fall, home prices tend to recover and go up over the longer term. As of September 2020, the median sales price of existing home sales was $311,800, a 35% gain since July 2006 when prices peaked at $230,000.”
Taking a look at how equity has grown for the typical homeowner, it’s clear to see how real estate is a sound long-term investment. NAR notes:
“Nationally, a person who purchased a typical home 30 years ago would have typically gained about $283,000 as of the second quarter of 2020.” (See graph below):
Whether you’re a current high-rise condo owner or a new Boston Seaport condo owner planning to put your equity toward a new home or have hopes of buying your first home soon, homeownership will always be a great opportunity to build your net worth and overall wealth. Owning a home is truly an investment in your financial future.