May 2018 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is down from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates rose to 4.71 percent this May, up 17.5 percent compared to 4.01 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in May moving the index down 10.2 percent from 157.2 to 141.2. The median sales price for a single family home sold in May in the US was $267,500 up 5.2 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 70 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points), while median family incomes rose 2.7 percent.

  • Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in home prices at 7.0 percent. The South had an increase of 5.8 percent while the Midwest had a gain of 3.2 percent. The Northeast was the only region with a drop in price of 3.0 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The West had the biggest drop in affordability of 11.2 percent. The South had a decline of 10.2 percent followed by the Midwest that fell 9.9 percent. The Northeast had the smallest drop of 2.2 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is down from last month in three of the four regions. The Northeast had a modest gain of 0.6 percent. The South had a decline of 3.0 percent followed by the West with a dip of 2.1 percent. The Midwest, which had the biggest dip in affordability of 5.7 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 175.5. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 100.2. For comparison, the index was 143.8 in the South, and 161.1 in the Northeast.

  • The economy is doing well and job creation is solid. Mortgage applications are currently down 8.8 percent and mortgage rates are continuing to rise. The price for building a home is increasing combined with a shortage in labor is contributing to higher home prices. New homes are currently increasing and this trend will ease the lack of inventory. Home prices are up 5.2 percent while median family incomes are only growing 2.7 percent.
  • 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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