Latest Housing Affordability Index Release

  • Good news for home owners and home buyers alike. At the national level, housing affordability is still at a near-record level thanks to lower mortgage rates, in spite of higher home prices. What is affordability like in your market?
  • Housing affordability is up for the month of January in the U.S. as rising incomes and lower mortgage rates coupled with easing home prices from December to January to boost affordability. Affordability is at its 3rd-highest level since the record set last February 2012.
  • From one year ago, affordability is roughly the same – the fixed rate index increased slightly while the composite index decreased slightly – as lower mortgage rates and higher incomes have offset double-digit home price gains.
  • By region, affordability is up from one month ago in the South and West, down slightly in the Northeast and unchanged in the Midwest. From one year ago, affordability is higher in all regions except the South and West, where prices are up by double-digits compared to one year ago.
  • In all regions, the median income family earns well over what is needed to purchase the median priced home, so affordability remains high.
  • Check out the full data release here.
  • The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principle and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.

Danielle Hale, Director of Housing Statistics

As a Research Economist at NAR, Danielle studies tax issues, the wealth impact of home ownership, and different measures of home prices.

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  1. Ever wonder why this hasn’t correlated to more first time home buyers and more traditional buyers?

    20% D (DTI 25) model based on PI payment…… really, honestly … Who thought of this one? Please let me know

  2. Great Index! In the Central Texas/Fort Hood area real estate market it’s less expensive to own a home vs. renting a single family home, even when buying a newly constructed home. Low interest rates play a big role in first time home buyers being able to buy.