Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

April 2019 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is down slightly from last month but up from a year ago. Mortgage rates were down from last month at 4.30 percent this April, and down 7.7 percent compared to 4.66 percent a year ago.

Housing Affordability Index chart: April Housing Affordability
  • Housing affordability increased from a year ago in April, moving the index up 3.4 percent from 147.3 to 152.3. The median sales price for a single family home sold in April in the US was $269,300, up 3.7 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were down 36 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points).
Housing Affordability Index chart: U.S. & Regional Mortgages Rates YOY
  • Payment as a percentage of income was flat from last month, at 16.4 percent this April and 17 percent from a year ago. Regionally, the West has the highest payment at 22.3 percent of income. The South had the second highest payment at 16.3 percent followed by the Northeast at 14.7 percent. The Midwest had the lowest payment as a percentage of income at 13.3 percent.
Housing Affordability Index chart: Payment as a percentage of income
  • Regionally, the Midwest recorded the biggest increase in home prices at 5.6 percent. The South had an increase of 4.4 percent while the Northeast had a gain of 1.7 percent. The Northeast had a slight decline in price of 0.1 percent.
  • All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago. The West had the biggest gain in affordability of 6.9 percent, followed by the Northeast with a modest gain of 6.7 percent. The South had an increase of 2.3 percent, followed by the Midwest with a modest gain of 0.8 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in two of the four regions. The Northeast had the biggest increase of 4.0 percent followed by the West with a gain of 1.1 percent. The Midwest region had the biggest decline of 2.4 percent followed by the South, which experienced a drop in affordability of 1.7 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 187.8. The least affordable region remained the West, where the index was 111.9. For comparison, the index was 152.9 in the South, and 170.4 in the Northeast.
Housing Affordability Index chart: U.S. & Regional Increases
  • Mortgage applications and credit availability are currently up. Homes are staying on the market for a shorter period. Median family incomes are growing at 2.8 percent, while home prices increased 3.7 percent. Inventories on the lower end are down, so more construction will help balance housing supply where there is stronger demand. Interest rates have dropped for four months in a row, which will lower mortgage payments for future homebuyers.
  • 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 calculation.

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