When Morris County homeowners sit down to plot out their household’s long-range financial plan, the value they ascribe to their Morris County home usually deserves a leading role. As research firm Pulsenomics puts it, “changes in single-family home values can have profound impacts on consumer balance sheets.” Yet it’s often the case that homeowners assume that their home’s value is its apparent equity—the home price they paid less their mortgage’s remaining principal.
Morris County homeowners will be pleased to find that using that measure is almost certain to result in a substantial underestimate. Since the historical norm is for residential home prices to rise, if you are trying to plot a realistic long-term picture of your family’s financial future, a middle-of-the-road estimate would take those likely price rises into account.
The problem is: who knows how much those values will actually rise? For instance, what if there were another international financial meltdown—with a real estate slump like the last one? Wouldn’t it be safer just to assume the worst—static Morris County home prices? Safer, perhaps—but not likely more accurate.
For the most sophisticated projections, a better look at the direction of home prices is published quarterly in Pulsenomics’ “U.S. Home Price Expectations Survey.” The Survey represents the combined opinions of more than 100 economists, investment strategists, and market analysts. They have been publishing those projections for five years now—which is noteworthy since we can now check back to see if they were overly optimistic (or the opposite).
In January of 2013, the mean expectation of the Pulsenomics experts was for a 5-year increase in home prices of a whopping 22.0%. That number seems pretty optimistic, and sure enough, a year later, in 2014 the experts dropped it to a more realistic 19.7%. The following years showed similar moderation, until by this January, their median prediction was for U.S. home prices to rise by 18.2% by 2023.
Of course, nobody can know exactly what the future will bring, so holding their feet to the fire and expecting exactitude would be unrealistic. But how did they do? drumroll, please:
As for that first 2013 seemingly over-optimistic expectation of 22%: the actual rise in home prices has been 37% (the Case-Shiller national average)! We’ll have to wait a bit to see how the next year turns out…but I think we’ll have more terrific news.
The long and the short of it is that for practical planning purposes, don’t assume your Morris County home investment will be wind up being worth what you paid (or will pay) for it. Realistic expectations can be quite a bit sunnier—and definitely, a solid reason to make Morris County homeownership a cornerstone of your family’s long-term financial future. To get started turning that goal into reality, please don’t put off giving me a call!