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Maybe prices are softer than we thought? By John Burns:

In the last 15 years, home prices have grown 29% faster than incomes, primarily due to falling mortgage rates. Since the monthly payment determines what most buyers can afford to pay for a house, we thought we would show you the powerful stimulus that lower interest rates have on home price appreciation.

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A typical family earning $60,000 per year can afford a mortgage payment of $1,800 per month, which qualified them for a $245,000 mortgage in the year 2000 when mortgage rates were 8%—– and qualifies them for $377,000 when rates are 4.0%. In other words, each 1.0% drop in interest rates in the last 15 years has allowed home sellers to raise price 12%+/-.

Since last March, rates have fallen 0.7%, a 9% stimulus to home prices. For all but the most affluent home buyers, payment trumps price, and sellers now have the ability to raise prices again.

Price drives profit, which is why the industry always talks about price. However, payment drives price. In addition to talking about price, please always calculate the payment. It will help you stay in touch with the consumer.

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