Is Buying a House a Good Investment?

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Owning a home is greater than just having a spot to sleep and eat. For a lot of, it’s the epitome of the American dream — where one can raise a family, enjoy retirement and construct generational wealth.

Buying a house could be an excellent investment under the precise circumstances. It may possibly even be a dangerous alternative for those who’re not financially prepared. With such a big sum of money involved, it’s best to know the professionals and cons of shopping for a house before making such an enormous financial decision.

Read on and discover the whole lot you might want to learn about making a house purchase and whether homeownership is the precise alternative for you. (This story is targeted on buying a primary residence, aka a house to live in. When you are thinking about buying an investment property examine these easy ways to speculate in real estate.)

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The professionals and cons of shopping for a house

Real estate investing just isn’t like investing within the stock market, where you’ll be able to buy or sell each day for those who so desire (though we wouldn’t recommend it). A house is a long-term investment. When you buy a house as a primary residence, it might increase in value over time and supply a financial windfall once you sell.

You gain equity in the house over time, which may provide a source of emergency funding in case your financial situation takes a turn for the more serious. You’ll be able to tap into the worth you’ve gained in the house with a home equity loan or line of credit, or with a cash-out refinance.

As with every personal finance decision you make, you might want to consider the upside and the downside of shopping for a house and what your goals for homeownership are. Only then will you already know if a house purchase is the precise alternative for this phase of your life.

  • The property value should appreciate over time
  • You gain home equity as you pay down your mortgage
  • Interest paid on a mortgage is tax deductible
  • Generally is a source of rental income and increase money flow
  • Requires a big money outlay for a down payment
  • Closing costs could be as high 6% of the house’s value
  • The house can depreciate in value
  • There are ongoing maintenance costs

What can affect your house’s value

The worth of your house changes over time. On average, most homes appreciate or gain value at a rate of around 3.5% or 4% per yr, which makes real estate investing an excellent strategy to increase your net value. Between 2012 and 2022, in keeping with the St Louis Federal Reserve, the median home sales price increased from $238,400 to $454,900 (by the tip of the third quarter) — nearly doubling in value over a 10-year period.

Nonetheless, there could also be circumstances where a house may depreciate, or lose value, especially over the short term. The next aspects can influence whether your house appreciates or depreciates.


Homes situated in what are considered desirable locations usually tend to gain moderately than lose value. A few of the best places to live will enjoy proximity to parks, schools, entertainment and other amenities that many homebuyers search for. For instance, a recent study showed that homes situated near a park or open spaces are valued between 8% to twenty% higher than comparable homes.

You must also remember that the land the house is situated on will likely be the more worthwhile component of your property. Even when a house falls into disrepair, the precise location could mean your property can still be value greater than once you originally bought. Consider where you purchase if you would like to improve your house’s possibilities of appreciating in value.

Real estate market conditions

What’s happening within the broader housing market can even affect your house’s value. When you are in what known as a seller’s market, where buyer demand outpaces the number of accessible homes on the market, you’ll more likely have the option to get top dollar once you sell your house. During 2020 and 2021, for instance. housing inventory was nowhere near enough to satisfy buyer demand, leading to bidding wars and houses selling for 1000’s of dollars above asking price.

Then again, for those who’re in a buyers market, where there are more homes on the market and never enough buyer demand, home prices are prone to decrease with a view to attract buyers. Still, for those who own a house for a few years, you will likely sell it for greater than you paid for it since it appreciated over a protracted time period.

Home size

The dimensions of a house relative to nearby homes can even influence how much it’s value, although there’s a considerable amount of variability based on the placement. When a house is put up on the market, considered one of the aspects an actual estate agent or appraiser uses in determining market value is the quantity of usable space in the house and the worth per square foot (the latter is calculated by dividing the house’s sales price by the variety of square feet).

All else equal, larger homes with more usable space are likely to have the next value, while homes with non-usable space (think unfinished basements or land that can’t be built upon for some reason) are likely to have a lower value. This was very true through the pandemic when buyers were in search of homes that either already had or were large enough so as to add spaces for home offices, workout rooms, and enormous family areas that might be used for entertainment.

Rates of interest

Mortgage rates of interest affect the worth of a house by making it roughly inexpensive. Low rates mean the monthly payments will likely be lower as well, making it easier for borrowers to qualify for a mortgage loan. The result’s that more buyers can afford larger and dearer homes since the monthly payments are cheaper.

That is what happened through the height of the pandemic, when rates of interest dropped below 3%. Low rates and monthly payments led to a buying frenzy which in turn helped push home prices higher. On the flip side, higher mortgage rates make a house purchase less inexpensive for a bigger variety of potential buyers.

Overall economy

The health of the economy influences a house’s value as well. In a growing economy where unemployment and consumer prices are low and wage growth is high, the housing market thrives. With more disposable income and stable rates of interest, more people can afford to speculate in real estate and feel confident their purchases pays off.

When the economy slows, nevertheless, buyer demand slows as well. With less demand and fewer home sales, home values are likely to fall.

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Costs related to buying a house

Buying a house requires qualifying for a mortgage and having enough money available to make deposits and canopy lender fees. There are also ongoing costs you’ll need to contemplate and plan for in your budget before taking the homeownership plunge.

Down payment

A down payment is money paid upfront when a house is bought and is a percentage of the house’s value. While most lenders recommend a down payment of 20% or more of the acquisition price, it might be as little as 3% for a traditional mortgage (0% for a VA loan). As a matter of fact, the common down payment made by first time homebuyers in 2022 was about 7%.

Even with a smaller down payment, nevertheless, you’ll need several thousand dollars in money. For instance, for those who plan on making a 5% down payment on a $250,000 home, you’ll need to pay $12,500 upfront.

Closing Costs

You can even must manage to pay for to cover the closing costs related to obtaining a mortgage. These costs can range between 3% and 6% of the acquisition price and include fees for loan application and origination costs, appraisal fees, inspection costs and attorney fees, amongst others. Closing costs have to be paid on the day of closing and are separate from the down payment.

Following the instance above, after making a down payment of $12,500, your loan amount could be $237,500. The closing costs would range between 3% and 6% of the loan amount — or between $7,125 and $14,250.


When you’ve made the investment in a brand new home, you would like to protect it. Plus, for those who finance your purchase, your mortgage lender would require you to get homeowners insurance. Home insurance is a policy that can reimburse you for property damage as a consequence of accidents or certain sorts of natural disasters, or for items lost as a consequence of theft.

There are a lot of several types of coverage available, so you need to shop around and compare policies and premiums to seek out the best home insurance company in your needs. Cost can vary depending on the placement of your house and the form of coverage you select, however the national average premium is about $1,200 per yr.

Note that in case your down payment is lower than 20%, your lender can even require you to pay for private mortgage insurance, a policy that protects the lender but not the homeowner and can increase your monthly payment.

Monthly mortgage payment

Most of those that spend money on a house borrow the majority of the acquisition price from a mortgage lender. You will likely be answerable for making monthly payments until you either sell the house or repay the remaining loan balance.

Your monthly payment will likely be determined by your starting loan balance (home price minus down payment) and the rate of interest you qualify for. These payments will include a portion that’s applied to the loan principal and a portion applied to interest. Typically, the interest payment is highest at first and progressively decreases because the loan balance decreases.

Generally speaking, if you will have a high credit rating and low debt-to-income ratio, you’ll be offered a lower rate of interest and monthly payment by the lender. You do get a tax profit for paying all that interest — the mortgage interest is tax deductible.

Home maintenance and repairs

Once you purchase the house, you will likely be answerable for maintaining the property in good condition. Maintenance costs are ongoing and might vary greatly depending on the condition of the house. For newly built homes, a house owner can expect to pay about 1% of the house’s value in yearly maintenance. As the house ages, that percentage can increase to 4% or more of the unique purchase price.

In 2022, homeowners spent a mean of virtually $3,018 per yr in maintenance costs, in keeping with home services site Angi. Although owners can handle some routine maintenance themselves, other projects would require an expert. Probably the most common maintenance projects include:

  • Lawn care/landscaping – could be so simple as mowing the lawn to resodding and replanting
  • Plumbing – from leaky faucets and clogged drains to broken sewer pipes
  • Yearly HVAC cleansing and maintenance
  • Clearing rain gutters
  • Exterior/interior paint touch-ups
  • Pest control
  • Electrical – from changing burnt-out bulbs to replacing faulty wiring

HOA fees

When you buy a house in a gated community, condominium development or other development that has common areas, you will likely be a part of a homeowners association. The HOA is in command of the maintenance of those areas, in addition to establishing and enforcing rules governing the looks of homes throughout the association. With the intention to provide maintenance and insurance for the shared spaces, HOAs charge a monthly fee.

How much you will pay in HOA fees will rely on the scale of the neighborhood, the amenities included that require maintenance and the scale of your house — larger homes typically pay the next fee. On average, monthly HOA fees run around $300, but chances are you’ll find neighborhoods where the fee is as little as $100 or as high as several thousand dollars. These fees can change over time as well, as maintenance costs increase.

Property taxes

When you spend money on a house you’ll be answerable for paying for property taxes on a yearly basis. This tax is assessed by the county and used to fund local schools, improve infrastructure and support public services. The quantity of tax paid is set by state tax laws and the assessed value of the property.

In 2019, probably the most recent numbers available, homeowners paid a mean of $3,561 a yr in property taxes. Nonetheless, depending on the state, median property taxes range from lower than $1,000 to greater than $8,000 per yr.

Home prices over time

Home prices are likely to be sticky downwards — which suggests single-family homes don’t lose value very easily and don’t often surrender all the worth they’ve gained. Below is a chart of how home prices have modified over the past ten years and what the common mortgage rate was.

Note that there’s a big jump in price gains in 2020 and 2021, when the pandemic caused a buying frenzy that sent home values soaring. Such large increases are usually not typical.


Yr Home price Yearly Appreciation
2012 $238,400 5.59%
2013 $258,400 5.89%
2014 $275,200 8.62%
2015 $289,200 4.60%
2016 $299,800 3.71%
2017 $313,100 7.69%
2018 $331,800 -2.72%
2019 $313,000 4.51%
2020 $329,000 9.04%
2021 $369,800 14.57%
2022 $433,100 6.80% (by the tip of third quarter)

When is buying a house not an excellent investment?

A house purchase just isn’t an excellent investment if it doesn’t fulfill some type of need. The first function of a home is to offer shelter. Whenever you take closing costs and realtor fees into consideration, the upfront costs of shopping for and selling a house are too high to make financial sense for those who are moving every two to 3 years.

Likewise, if the fee of shopping for a house puts a strain in your budget to the purpose where you’re barely making ends meet, it doesn’t make sense to speculate in a house — a downturn within the economy, lack of a job or other financial setback could lead on to foreclosure and lack of the cash you invested to start with.

Is buying a house an excellent investment summary

Under the precise circumstances, buying a house could be an excellent investment. Homes are likely to appreciate in value over time and help create generational wealth. A house also provides a secure place to lift a family and might generate income as a rental property.

But buying a house also requires a big financial commitment and ongoing costs beyond making a down payment and qualifying for a mortgage. Anyone considering a house purchase must weigh the prices against the advantages to find out if it’s the precise alternative. Using a home affordability calculator can assist make that call. Once the choice to purchase is made, shopping around for the best mortgage lender will aid you get the perfect rate and terms.

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