If you’re wondering whether to take the plunge into homeownership this year, there are plenty of factors to consider, including where should I buy?
While homeownership has been on the decline across the country for years, a new report from Realtor.com highlighted 10 cities where an increasing number of people are buying homes, with rates rising above the national average.
All of the cities on the list — which includes metros from the Rust Belt, the South and the East Coast — have one big thing in common: affordability. More than half boast median home prices below the national average of $274,492.
Current homeownership rate: 68.7 percent, up 11 percent over the past three years; Median home price: $224,950
Charlotte, North Carolina
Current homeownership rate: 62.8 percent, up 10.5 percent over the past three years; Median home price: $327,050
Current homeownership rate: 61 percent, up 9.3 percent over the past three years; Median home price: $195,050
Current homeownership rate: 68.4 percent, up 7.3 percent over the past three years; Median home price: $300,000
Current homeownership rate: 74.8 percent, up 7.3 percent in recent years; Median home price: $225,000
Current homeownership rate: 74 percent, up 7.2 percent since 2014; Median home price: $174,950
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Current homeownership rate: 66 percent, up 5.7 percent in recent years; Median home price: $239,950
Current homeownership rate: 68.8 percent, up 4.9 percent over the past three years; Median home price: $359,050
Current homeownership rate: 60.7 percent, up 4.8 percent over the past three years; Median home price: $339,950
Syracuse, New York
Current homeownership rate: 66.5 percent, up 4.6 percent since 2014; Median home price: $149,950
Trying to decide whether to become a homeowner this year? Here are three questions to ask:
Can I afford it?
While a recent Trulia study found that purchasing a home is 37.7 percent cheaper than renting on a national basis, it’s a much greater financial commitment. Determining whether it fits into your budget and larger financial plan is the most important step. This handy home affordability calculator from Realtor.com can help you decide if homeownership fits into your larger financial picture.
How long do I plan to live there?
The equity of your home generally builds over time, as the amount you owe on your mortgage goes down. So if you don’t plan to stay in the home for at least five to seven years, it usually doesn’t make sense to buy.
Am I ready for the responsibility?
You know how you get to call your super any time the sink stops draining or the stove breaks in your rental? That’s not an option when you own. Make sure you’re ready to take on all of the responsibilities that go along with homeownership, like maintenance, upkeep and renovations.