Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

April 2017 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is down from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates increased to 4.11 percent this April, up compared to 3.89 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in April moving the index down 6.0 percent from 166.1 to 156.2. The median sales price for a single family home sold in April in the US was $246,100 up 6.1 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 22 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points) while incomes rose 2.4 percent.
  • Regionally, the Midwest had the biggest increase in price at 7.8 percent. The South had an increase of 7.7 percent while the West had a 6.9 percent gain in price. The Northeast had the smallest incline in price of 1.1 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Midwest had the biggest decline of 7.9 percent. The South followed with a decline of 7.5 percent. The West had a decline of 7.3 while the Northeast had the smallest decline of 2.1 percent.
  • By region, affordability is down from last month except in the Northeast where there was a modest increase of 0.6 percent. The Midwest had the biggest decline of 4.0 percent followed by the South who had a decline of 1.2 percent. The West had the smallest decline in affordability of 0.9 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region is the Midwest where the index is 193.7.  The least affordable region remains the West where the index is 111.8.  For comparison, the index is 155.9 in the South, and 162.9 in the Northeast.
  • Mortgage applications are currently up this week. Even though rates are higher from a year ago, they are still lower than they have been all year.
  • 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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