Continued depreciation of property values in 2010 has made housing more undervalued relative to income than ever before. Using the latest Case-Shiller home price index American housing was 21% undervalued when compared with disposable income per-capita.
This data includes the index published by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and shows that housing in the 4th quarter of 2010 was 15% undervalued as measured against American’s disposable income. The results point to the idea that housing is exceptionally undervalued, and the gap has gotten bigger.
Current low housing prices, coupled with historically low interest rates (the 20 year average is 7% but a minimum down FHA loan can be had for 4.5% today), explains why the monthly mortgage payment on a median priced house bought with a 20% down payment has fallen to an all-time low of 13% of the median income. Real estate costs now appears close to fair value when set against rents according to the numbers (and I have seen plenty of people buy for less than they were paying in rent recently).
These low prices and rates mean there is plenty of scope for housing to perform well in the near to mid-term. Also, the Sacramento market currently has MANY more buyers than there are properties to sell in this low-mid price range, so the demand is there to keep it moving.
Looking at the long term, as I have talked about a number of times recently, a sharp fall in the mortgage delinquency rate throughout 2010 means there will be fewer homes in the foreclosure pipeline, and as current foreclosure pipelines continue to shrink we should see a return to a more normal real estate market in the Sacramento region. This will not happen overnight but with less and less first payment defaults, there will be less and less foreclosures going forward.
So, with home prices as “undervalued” as any time in history, what are you waiting for?