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In the past year and a half, we’ve seen homes sell at astronomical prices, way above the market value. It’s been a housing market that, to say the least, has left many aspiring homebuyers with a bitter taste in their mouths. And while this occurred under extraordinary circumstances — during a pandemic that pushed people out of densely populated cities and into suburban homes and a time of record low interest rates — it’s left many people wondering: If homes are this expensive now, how much could prices rise in the future?
According to RenoFi, the average price of a single-family home in the U.S. could reach $382,000 by 2030. Depending on where you live, this figure may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to the home prices in your city. For example, the average price of a home in New York City this year is $795,000, but the average price around Albany in Upstate New York is $227,500, according to Redfin trends.
RenoFi also looked into the projected 2030 home prices for every state and some major cities in the U.S. It projects that San Francisco will have the highest average home value in the country at a staggering $2,612,484. Following it will be two other California cities, San Jose at $2,251,703 and Oakland at $1,713,554.
Housing prices in the U.S. increased 48.55% over the past 10 years, according to RenoFi. When doing the projections, RenoFi assumed housing prices would again increase by the same amount over the next decade. Here’s what else RenoFi shared in its report:
- New York City will have an average home value of $964,101 by 2030.
- The average home value in Nashville will reach $539,292. Currently, the average home value is $387,000.
- Houston will see an average home value of $309,806 by 2030. The average home value as of August 2021 is $231,326.
RenoFi has the full breakdown on its website.
Home value doesn’t always equate to the actual price a buyer pays. The home value represents the amount of money a home will likely sell for based on the market. But buyers may agree to pay a price that is lower or even higher than the home’s value.
What is driving up home values?
Don’t Quit Your Day Job, a website providing investment resources, used housing price index data from Robert Shiller, a professor of Economics at Yale University and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to find the median value of existing homes in the U.S.
- In September 1996, the media value was $112,250.08 ($191,153.27 when adjusted for inflation)
- In September 2006, the average price was $216,032.63 ($286,073.86 when adjusted for inflation)
- In September 2016, the average price was $226,095.63 ($251,758.92 when adjusted)
- In May 2021, the average price sits at $329,522.56
This number is about to get higher.
“Based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re on track for average home prices to register right at around $330,000 to $340,000 this year,” says Danielle Hale, the chief economist at Realtor. “These are hefty price increases. We see this because sellers ask for one price, buyers make an offer and the home usually sells for another price. This year, we saw the sale price come in above the asking price in many places.”
This was at a time during super low interest rates and increased demand for homes. But even during normal times, home prices continue to increase — as we saw by looking at home prices from 1996 to 2006 to 2016. Supply and demand and interest rates can certainly affect home prices but according to Hale, another contributing factor can be an increase in wages.
“In a normal economy, we see home prices increase roughly on par with wage increases because the majority of homebuyers are using wage income to buy their homes,” she explains. “Even though incomes are rising, home prices are rising even faster.”
According to data from the Social Security Administration, the average wage in the U.S. between 1996 and 2019 has increased from $24,859.17 to $51,916.27. Thanks to inflation and an increased cost of living though, it can feel as if the dollar affords workers less and less over time. This is why, for many people, it can still feel as though homeownership is a far-off goal.
How can people prepare for higher prices?
Though looking at projected future home values might make homebuying feel like a pipe dream, it’s important for aspiring homeowners to start taking steps to improve their chances of being able to afford the home they want in the future.
“The key is for young people to start saving as soon as they can,” Hale says. “The earlier you start, the more money you may accumulate and the bigger your potential down payment will be. Be consistent about it.”
If you don’t plan to buy a home for another five to 10 years, you might want to consider investing the money you save for a down payment in order to make sure your cash is beating inflation.
Index funds are a low cost way to invest, and some funds, like those tied with the S&P 500, have a history of yielding an average return of 10% per year. (Note that past returns do not indicate future success.) You can get started by opening a brokerage account through a financial provider like Fidelity or Charles Schwab.
If you want something a little more hands off, consider robo-advisors like Wealthfront and Betterment, which will automatically invest and rebalance your money based on preferences like risk tolerance and when you want to make withdrawals, so you’re not taking on too much risk.
Acorns is another investing platform that is good for new investors. It has a feature that will automatically invest any spare change you have from making everyday purchases, which is easy way to build investing into your daily life.
You only want to invest the money you’re saving for a down payment if you have a much longer time horizon for buying a home so you can ride out any market dips. And keep in mind that when you sell your assets and withdraw the money, you’ll owe taxes.
On Wealthfront’s secure site
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Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. $500 minimum deposit for investment accounts
Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Zero account, transfer, trading or commission fees (fund ratios may apply). Wealthfront annual management advisory fee is 0.25% of your account balance
Stocks, bonds, ETFs and cash. Additional asset classes to your portfolio include real estate, natural resources and dividend stocks
Offers free financial planning for college planning, retirement and homebuying
On Betterment’s secure site
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Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. For Betterment Digital Investing, $0 minimum balance; Premium Investing requires a $100,000 minimum balance
Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. For Betterment Digital Investing, 0.25% of your fund balance as an annual account fee; Premium Investing has a 0.40% annual fee
Up to one year of free management service with a qualifying deposit within 45 days of signup. Valid only for new individual investment accounts with Betterment LLC
Stocks, bonds, ETFs and cash
Betterment RetireGuide™ helps users plan for retirement
If you’re looking to buy a house with less time on your side, though, you could be better off saving your money in a high-yield savings account, like the Marcus by Goldman Sachs High-Yield Savings Account or the Ally Bank High-Yield Savings Account. This way, you’ll earn a little interest on that cash, even if you aren’t making contributions to the account.
It may also help to use RenoFi‘s projections to estimate about how much money you may need to buy a home in your desired state or city in the next 10 years. This can be especially helpful for people who like to have a specific end goal in mind in order to more effectively save their money.
It’s typically recommended to have a down payment of 10 to 20% if you plan to take on a conventional mortgage. By looking at future projections, you can do a rough calculation of how much money you’ll need for a down payment, then break it down by approximately how many months you want to give yourself before you begin your home search.
So if you want to buy a $400,000 home in 2030, you’ve got 9 years to start saving. Here’s how you can breakdown the calculations:
- If you’re saving for a 10% down payment ($40,000) and you’re putting the money into a high-yield savings account with a .5%APY, you need to save roughly $363 a month.
- If you’re saving for a 20% down payment ($80,000) and you’re putting the money into a high-yield savings account with a .5%APY, you need to save roughly $725 a month.
- If you’re saving for a 10% down payment ($40,000) and you’re putting the money in an investment account with an estimated 10% year-over-year return, you need to save roughly $230 a month.
- If you’re saving for a 20% down payment ($80,000) and you’re putting the money in an investment account with an estimated 10% year-over-year return, you need to save roughly $460 a month.
Remember, you don’t have to start out saving $725 a month. You can begin more slowly and ramp up as you earn more money, and saving extra cash that comes your way, such as tax returns, inheritances and year-end bonuses.
It might seem daunting, but sometimes a clear plan can make it easier to achieve your financial goals.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns, and CNBC has a content partnership with it.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.