Dec 18 2018 63049 1

Dated: 12/18/2018

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October 2018 Housing Affordability Index

Posted in Economist Commentaries, by  on December 14, 2018

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At the national level, housing affordability is down from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates rose to 4.88 percent this October, up 18.7 percent compared to 4.11 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in October moving the index down 9.7 percent from 162.7 to 146.9. The median sales price for a single family home sold in October in the US was $257,900 up 4.3 percent from a year ago.

  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 77 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points).

  • The payment as a percentage of income was unchanged from last month at 17 percent this October but up from 15.4 percent from a year ago. Regionally, the West has the highest payment at 23.7 percent of income. The South had the second highest payment at 16.5 percent followed by the Northeast at 16.1 percent. The Midwest had the lowest payment as a percentage of income at 13.5 percent.

  • Regionally, the South recorded the biggest increase in home prices at 3.6 percent. The Northeast had an increase of 3.0 percent while the West had a gain of 2.5 percent. The Midwest had the smallest growth in price of 1.4 percent.

  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Midwest had the biggest drop in affordability of 9.6 percent. The South had a decline of 9.1 percent followed by the Northeast that fell 9.0 percent. The West had the smallest drop of 7.5 percent.

  • On a monthly basis, affordability is down from last month in three of the four regions. The Northeast region had the only gain of 1.7 percent. Both the Midwest and the West shared a decline of 0.6 percent. The South had the smallest dip in affordability of 0.1 percent.

  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 185.0. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 105.3. For comparison, the index was 151.6 in the South, and 154.9 in the Northeast.

  • Mortgage applications are currently up. Mortgage rates continue to rise and home price growth is slowing down to catch up with incomes. Single-family homes are still moving at a face pace however tend to slow down during fall and winter season. Inventory of homes are currently up, which is a welcoming sign for potential homebuyers. Home prices are up 4.3 percent, median family incomes that are growing 3.1 percent helping reduce the pressure of home price growth.

  • What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release here.

  • The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principal and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.

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