Is this the best time to buy a house? Absolutely not, and it won't be a good time later. Buying a house is never, ever a good idea, says James Altucher, investor, author and entrepreneur.
Home prices and interests rate are still low compared to pre-housing crisis levels. But as both costs are rising, some people question whether this is the time to jump into the market.
Altucher told Yahoo's Daily Ticker that although people will continue to make “stupid decisions” and buy houses, homeownership makes no sense.
A home is often touted as an investment but Altucher urges people to really consider the financial qualities.
“You'll take all of your money and put it into a house. Then, you'll borrow a lot more money. And the house is totally illiquid,” he said.
“Nobody would ever make any other kind of investment like this,” he added.
Some say a home is a hedge against inflation. Property taxes and maintenance costs go up with inflation — or faster. When renting a home, that doesn't necessarily, happen.
But what about the personal benefits, you may ask, pointing to the fact that you're going to live in the property and put down roots in a community?
Once you move into a house you're trapped. If a financial crisis strikes, you can't just get up and easily move. Selling homes often take months and many view it as a painful — and very expensive — process. Such a situation reduces your flexibility on jobs.
When you view homeownership overall, what it equates to is a decision to give up the freedom to move and the freedom to have cash in the bank.
People are sucked into the homeownership scheme because they are victims of psychological marketing. They believe it's part of the “American Dream.” That term was a Fannie Mae marketing slogan to convince people to take out mortgages.
The housing market is $15 trillion industry, or “scam system,” and that was proven when it blew up into a crisis “a thousand times bigger than Maddoff,” Altucher said.
Other experts share a bleak view of home ownership.
Real estate attorney Shari Olefson, author of "Financial Fresh Start," sees American turning into a nation of renters.
One reason why was the expiration of the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act at the end of last year. That law allowed homeowners to forgo paying taxes on money that banks forgave in their underwater mortgages.
So now some homeowners will go into foreclosure instead of making a short sale. Foreclosures will occur most often in places still on the mend from the housing crash.
The big investors also are driving home prices higher, forcing more people to rent. Prices of homes in an area should be based on the area's income, but investors are bidding based on the rent they think they can generate.
"So the homes are becoming less affordable for folks who want to buy, making renting just a much more viable option."
Michele Serro, founder and CEO of Doorsteps, a homebuyer-assistance website, suggests that attitudes toward homeownership are changing.
As of September 2013, buying was 35% cheaper than renting in all 10 of the major metropolitan markets. Despite these numbers, more former homeowners are now looking to rent.
If the American dream used to be about stability (and therefore security), the millennial dream, both due to financial circumstance and preference, seems to value flexibility (and therefore freedom).
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