Let’s look and some numbers and see if there is any truth to the statement, “now is a great time to buy if you own a house in this market and want to move up into a more expensive home.” The theory is that equity gain by buying the new house at the same discount as he is forced to sell the current house creates instant gain. Let’s see how it pans out if we apply some numbers to it. Simple numbers, we’ll ignore transaction costs in the first round and we assume that he is willing and able and does not want to move into a rental. I haven’t looked at this before so we’ll see where it goes.
Joe lives in a house that he paid $200,000 and is now “worth” $300,000. He wants to buy a $500,000 house. He has $100,000 in equity. He lists the house and sells it at a ten percent discount at $280,000. He then turns around and buys the $500,000 for the same 10% discount at $450,000. He’s moved up and has created $30,000 (he gained $50,000 on the purchase but lost $20,000 on the sale).
In its most simplistic form, is that correct? We’ve ignored transaction costs. He’s got $130,000.
Let’s move in some more realistic facts of the transaction. He paid 6% commission on the sale ($16,800). He needs $90,000 for 80/20 conventional loan on the $450k purchase so we’re $23,200 ahead and now has $90,000 in equity in the new house where he only had $80k in the old house. ($130k-$90k-$16.8k=$23,200). Closing costs eat up another $6000 so now $17,200 ahead.
Unless I have missed something (entirely possible), we can say that he has more equity, has moved into a nicer house and has a 30yr fixed loan and a pretty good historic rate. We don’t know if he dumped an ARM that is about to reset or traded across so we don’t know if he took a big hit in payment or not. If he had a $150k loan at 6% (simple numbers) his payment would have been $900. Same theory it is now closer to $1500 all other things being equal.
Joe is happy?!? It looks like it depends. He can’t tell where the market is going to bottom out. If it drops more, he would have done even better by waiting. If it goes up, he starts gaining. Since he is already in the market, it works differently than for someone that is not. In 2005 many said they couldn’t sell during rapid appreciation and move up. Looks like they can now.