Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

June 2019 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month and up from a year ago. Mortgage rates were down from last month at 3.84% this June, and down nearly one percentage point compared to 4.77% a year ago.

Bar chart: June 2019 U.S. and Regional Housing Affordability in 2018 and 2019
  • Housing affordability increased from a year ago in June, moving the index up 10.3% from 137.7 to 151.9. All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago. The West had the biggest gain in affordability of 12%, followed by the South with a gain of 11%. The Midwest had an increase of 9.0%, followed by the Northeast with the smallest gain of 7.4%.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in two of the four regions. The West had the biggest gain of 3.5% followed by the South with an increase of 1.5%. The Northeast region Fell 1.7% followed by the Midwest with the smallest decline of 0.2%.
  • As of June 2019, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 186. The least affordable region remained the West, where the index was 113.1. For comparison, the index was 156.9 in the South, and 154.2 in the Northeast.
  • Affordability conditions improved due to lower mortgage rates and higher incomes even as home prices have continued to increase.  Nationally, mortgage rates were down 90 basis points from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points). The median sales price for a single-family home sold in June in the US was $288,900, up 4.5% from a year ago, while median family incomes rose 3.5 % in 2019 from one year ago.
Bar chart: U.S. and Regional Incomes in 2018 and 2019
  • Payment as a percentage of income was slightly down from last month, at 16.5% this June and 18.2% from a year ago. Regionally, the West has the highest payment at 22.1 percent of income. The Northeast had the second highest payment at 16.2% followed by the South at 15.9%. The Midwest had the lowest payment as a percentage of income at 13.4%.
Line graph: Payment as Percent of Income, June 2018 through June 2019
  • With lower mortgage rates, mortgage applications recently increased by 5.3%. With improving affordability conditions, first-time homebuyers made up 35% of existing home sales which is a sign of them returning to the housing market. Homes are currently affordable due to low mortgage rates, but a sustained solution will require more home construction at the moderate price tiers as well as multifamily housing to make rent more affordable.
  • What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release.
  • 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 calculations.

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