Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Nearly 10M more renter households had income to qualify to buy home in 2012 vs. 2005

  • Many factors have increased the number of renter households qualified to purchase a home in 2012 versus 2000 and 2005: 1) incomes have increased, 2) population has grown, 3) mortgage rates are lower, and 4) prices have fallen since 2005.
  • Additionally, while home prices rose from 2011 to 2012, lower mortgage rates have more than offset the gains, so the income needed to purchase the median priced home has actually gone down from 2011 to 2012 in spite of rising home prices.
  • The tables below show the data underlying the change in required income. Qualifying income required to purchase a median priced home has fallen from $50,400 in 2005 and $40,300 in 2000 to $33,100 in 2011 and $31,700 in 2012 [1].

  • Finally, based on all of these factors, we see that while 33 percent of renters qualified to buy the median priced home in 2000 and 24 percent of renters qualified to buy the median priced home in 2005, 47 percent of renters would qualify in 2011 and 40 percent would qualify in 2012 [2]. Translating these numbers into households, roughly 8 million renters qualified to purchase the median priced home in 2005 while in 2012, 20 million renter households qualify.
  • These calculations assume that potential buyers meet credit qualifications and have sufficient cash on hand to close a transaction. Lending standards, credit quality, and access to funds will affect the number of households who will ultimately be able to buy a home.

[1] All values are nominal, not real values.

[2] This calculation assumes that income distribution in 2012 is the same as it was in 2011.

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