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More buyers are busting budgets to become homeowners

NEW YORK – April 4, 2018 – Homebuyers are busting budgets – and in some cases selling things they love – to snag their dream houses.

By the numbers

  • 6.2%: Average rise in price of U.S. homes from January 2016.
  • 50%: How much the price of U.S. homes has gone up since their 2012 bottom.
  • 40%: of Millennials are most likely to splurge.
  • $24,545: Average amount Millennials are going over their budget.
  • $16,510: Average amount one-third of overall buyers spent over their budget cap.

A third of home buyers blew through the upper limit of what they planned to spend, topping that cap by an average $16,510, according to a Owners.com survey of 1,214 Americans who purchased a house within the past four years. The survey was conducted Jan. 31 to Feb. 8.

The main reason? Price. Price. Price.

«Clearly, we’re in an environment of rising prices,» especially for starter homes, says Daniel Maloney, national head of sales for Owners.com, a real estate brokerage. Many houses on the market are drawing multiple offers, forcing buyers to bid up.

In January, home prices nationally were up an average 6.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index. Prices have risen nearly 50 percent from their 2012 bottom. Supply shortages, combined with a healthy job market that’s fueling demand, are blamed for the recent price run-up.

Many house hunters who set a price range think little of going beyond it to be closer to work or in a desired neighborhood, says Dario Cardile, vice president of growth marketing at Owners.com.

Millennials are most likely to splurge, with 40 percent going over budget and by $24,545 on average. Thirty-four percent of Gen Xers raced past their limits, by $13,096 on average. And 19 percent of Baby Boomers topped their parameters, by an average $8,024.

Millennials are most likely to go over budget and by a larger amount because they’re first-time home buyers and the least knowledgeable about setting a realistic price target and meeting it, Maloney says. Gen Xers and Boomers are progressively savvier.

Also, supply shortages and sharp price increases are most acute among the starter homes Millennials favor, Maloney says. And, he says, young adults may feel more urgency to buy a house because they’re living with parents or renting. Members of the other age groups, many of whom already own homes, can simply stay in them until they find something close to their price range.

Caron MacDonald, 29, of Hanover, Mass., planned on spending $250,000 to $280,000 on her first home purchase but found that houses in that range needed work or weren’t in safe neighborhoods.

So she wound up buying a two-bedroom house for $300,000 about a year ago.

Since MacDonald wanted to make a 20 percent downpayment to avoid the cost of mortgage insurance, the higher price tag forced her mother to chip in half of the $60,000 downpayment instead of the $10,000 to $20,000 she originally planned.

MacDonald is paying $1,600 a month in mortgage and other costs, about $400 more than she intended. To make it work, the lifelong equestrian had to sell her horse to shed roughly $700 in monthly stable fees and has given up her annual vacation to the Caribbean.

«It was tough,» she said of the horse sale.

And, «It is a little disappointing to not go away as much.»

But noting that her monthly house payment is now an investment in her future, she says, «I can do without a vacation if it means I’m actually a homeowner.»

Copyright © 2018, USATODAY.com, USA TODAY, Paul Davidson

Original: http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?p=2&id=364607