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The ‘REAL’ News about Housing Affordability

Thursday, April 6, 2017   /   by Vanessa Saunders

The ‘REAL’ News about Housing Affordability

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Some industry experts are claiming that the housing market may be headed for a slowdown as we proceed through 2017, based on rising home prices and a potential jump in mortgage interest rates. One of the data points they use is the Housing Affordability Index, as reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).


Here is how NAR defines the index:


“The Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.”


Basically, a value of 100 means a family earning the median income earns enough to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home, based on the price and mortgage interest rates at the time. Anything above 100 means the family has more than enough to qualify.


The higher the index, the easier it is to afford a home.


Why the concern?

The index has been declining over the last several years as home values increased. Some are concerned that too many buyers could be priced out of the market.


But, wait a minute…


Though the index skyrocketed from 2009 through 2013, we must realize that during that time, the housing crisis left the market with an overabundance of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). All prices dropped dramatically and distressed properties sold at major discounts. Then, mortgage rates fell like a rock.


The market is recovering, and values are coming back nicely. That has caused the index to fall.


However, let’s remove the crisis years (shaded in gray) and look at the current index as compared to the index from 1990 – 2008:

Though prices and rates appear to be increasing, we must realize that affordability is composed of three ingredients: home prices, interest rates, and income. And, incomes are finally rising.



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ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q1 2017 U.S. Home Affordability Index. The report explained:


“Stronger wage growth is the silver lining in this report, outpacing home price growth in more than half of the markets for the first time since Q1 2012, when median home prices were still falling nationwide. If that pattern continues, it will help turn the tide in the eroding home affordability trend.”


Bottom Line


Compared to historic norms, it is still a great time to buy from an affordability standpoint.

  home investment, mortgage rates

Global Property Systems
Vanessa Saunders MBA MIMC CIPS - NYS RE Principal Broker
56 Lafayette Avenue Suite 320
White Plains, NY 10603
914-290-5258

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©2019 Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. All rights reserved.

The data relating to real estate for sale or lease on this web site comes in part from MHMLS. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Vanessa Saunders - Global Property Systems are marked with the MHMLS logo or an abbreviated logo and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing broker. The information appearing herein has not been verified by the Mid-Hudson Multiple Listing Service, Inc. or by any individual(s) who may be affiliated with said entity, all of whom hereby collectively and severally disclaim any and all responsibility for the accuracy of the information appearing at this web site, at any time or from time to time. All such information should be independently verified by the recipient of such data. This data is not warranted for any purpose. ©2019 Mid-Hudson Multiple Listing Service, Inc. All rights reserved.
The data relating to real estate on this website comes, in part, through the IDX of the Multiple Listing Service of Ulster County, Inc. Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Vanessa Saunders - Global Property Systems are marked with the IDX logo and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing broker.