Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

July 2017 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month but down from a year ago. Mortgage rates increased to 4.14 percent this July, up compared to 3.77 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in July moving the index down 8.1 percent from 160.6 to 147.6. The median sales price for a single family home sold in July in the US was $260,600 up 6.3 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 37 basis points from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points) while median family incomes rose 2.2 percent.
  • Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in price at 7.9 percent. The South had an increase of 6.6 percent while the Midwest had a gain of 6.0 percent. The Northeast had the smallest incline in price of 4.0 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The West had the biggest decline of 9.7 percent. The South followed with a decline of 9.3 percent. The Midwest had a decline of 7.9 while the Northeast had the smallest decline of 4.9 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in all four regions. The Midwest had the biggest incline of 2.7 percent followed by the South, which had an incline of 2.1 percent. The West had an increase of 2.0 percent. The Northeast had the smallest incline in affordability of 1.5 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 183.4.  The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 107.2. For comparison, the index was 147.7 in the South, and 152.7 in the Northeast.


  • Mortgage applications are currently up. New home construction is on the decline and yet the sales pace is moving fast in new home sales. Inventory demands remain high. Mortgage rates are still historically low.
  • 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.