July 2016 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is up from a year ago for the first time since February of 2015 when it improved 2.0 percent. Mortgage rates are 3.77 this July, which is the lowest rate since June 2013 when rates fell to 3.67.

  • Housing affordability increased from a year ago in July pushing the index up 1.7 percent from 154.5 to 157.1. The median sales price for a single family home sold in July in the US was $246,000 up 5.4 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were down 42 basis points from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points) while incomes modestly rose 2.0 percent.
  • The South had the biggest increase in price at 6.7 percent. The West had an increase of 6.0 percent while the Midwest had a 5.1 percent gain in price. The Northeast had the smallest increase of 3.5 percent.
  • Regionally, all regions saw increases in affordability from a year ago. The West had the biggest increase of 2.6 percent closely followed by the Northeast with an increase of 2.5 percent. The Midwest had a modest gain in affordability of 1.1 percent while the South had the smallest gain of 0.7 percent.
  • By region, affordability is up in all regions from last month. The Midwest (3.2 percent) had the biggest increase. The West and South each had an increase of 2.9 percent. The Northeast had the smallest increase in affordability of 0.5 percent.
  • Despite month to month changes, the most affordable region is the Midwest where the index is 194.8. The least affordable region remains the West where the index is 117.5.  For comparison, the index is 162.3 in the South, 155.4 in the Northeast.
  • Mortgage applications picked up this week and rates are historically low. Purchase mortgage applications are also currently up this week. New home sales are up but inventory is still too low to relieve the pressure of home price growth. Median family incomes continue to lag behind the pace of increasing home prices.
  • 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.