Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

February 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 4.43 percent this February, up compared to 4.04 a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in February moving the index down 8.7 percent from 175.9 to 160.6. The median sales price for a single family home sold in February in the US was $229,900 up 7.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 39 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points) while incomes rose 2.9 percent.
  • Regionally, the West had the biggest increase in price at 9.9 percent. The South had an increase of 9.7 percent while the Midwest had a 6.0 percent gain in price. The Northeast had the smallest incline in price of 3.5 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The West had the biggest decline of 11.2 percent. The South followed with a decline of 10.9 percent. The Midwest had a decline in affordability of 7.8 percent while the Northeast had the smallest decline of 4.8 percent.
  • By region, affordability is down from last month except in the Northeast where there was no change. The South had the biggest decline of 2.6 followed by the West who had a decline of 1.7 percent. The Midwest had the smallest decline in affordability of 0.3 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region is the Midwest where the index is 210.7.  The least affordable region remains the West where the index is 112.9.  For comparison, the index is 158.2 in the South, 169.5 in the Northeast.
  • Mortgage applications are currently up this week. Even with a rise in rates, interest in purchasing a home remains strong. Prices continue to outpace incomes and demand may become choked off.  Potential homeowners will benefit from investing their time working on the preapproval process.
  • 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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