September 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 4.77 percent this September, up 14.9 percent compared to 4.15 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in September moving the index down 8.4 percent from 160.1 to 146.7. The median sales price for a single family home sold in September in the US was $260,500 up 4.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 62 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points).

  • The payment as a percentage of income was down to 17 percent this September but up from 15.6 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 16.4 percent. The Midwest had the lowest payment as a percentage of income at 13.5 percent.

  • Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in home prices at 7.0 percent. The Northeast had an increase of 5.3 percent while the South had a gain of 4.2 percent. The Midwest had the smallest growth in price of 2.2 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Northeast had the biggest drop in affordability of 9.0 percent. The South had a decline of 7.3 percent followed by the West that fell 6.8 percent. The Midwest had the smallest drop of 5.8 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in all of the four regions. The Northeast had biggest gain of 5.5 percent. The Midwest had an incline of 4.2 percent followed by the South with an increase of 2.3 percent. The West had the smallest gain in affordability of 1.9 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 185.3. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 105.4. For comparison, the index was 151.4 in the South, and 152.3 in the Northeast.

  • Mortgage applications are currently down. Mortgage rates are rising and home price growth is starting to slow down. Despite higher mortgage rates, lower home prices and increases inventory levels will help renters and potential home buyers enter the housing market. Home prices are up 4.6 percent outpacing median family incomes that are growing 3.1 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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