August 2018 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month but down from a year ago. Mortgage rates rose to 4.78 percent this August, up 14.1 percent compared to 4.19 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in August moving the index down 8.3 percent from 153.9 to 141.2. The median sales price for a single family home sold in August in the US was $267,300 up 4.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 59 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points).

  • The payment as a percentage of income was down to 17.7 percent this August but up from 16.2 percent from a year ago. Regionally, the West has the highest payment at 24 percent of income. The South had the second highest payment at 17 percent followed by the Northeast at 16.5 percent. The Midwest had the lowest payment as a percentage of income at 14.2 percent.

  • Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in home prices at 5.2 percent. The Midwest had an increase of 4.2 percent while the South had a gain of 3.6 percent. The Northeast had the smallest growth in price of 0.1 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Midwest had the biggest drop in affordability of 7.8 percent. The West had a decline of 7.7 percent followed by the South that fell 7.0 percent. The Northeast had the smallest drop of 5.5 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in three of the four regions. The Northeast had biggest gain of 6.2 percent. The South had an incline of 2.4 percent followed by the West with a slight increase of 0.1 percent. The Midwest had the only dip in affordability of 4.8 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 175.7. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 101.2. For comparison, the index was 146.7 in the South, and 151.2 in the Northeast.

  • Mortgage applications are currently down. Mortgage rates are still rising along with rents. Foot traffic is up which shows there is interest from future homebuyers. Job creation remains steady and new homes sales are continuing to incline. Home prices are up 4.9 percent outpacing median family incomes that are growing 3.0 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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