Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is down from a year ago and for the month of April as higher prices continue to outpace incomes and as home sales continue to ramp up for the spring-summer selling season.

  • Housing affordability is down from a year ago in April as the median price for a single family home in the US is up from a year ago. Regionally, the Midwest had the biggest increase in price at 11.6% while the Northeast experienced slower price growth at 4.9%.
  • The median single-family home price is $221,000 up 10% from April 2014. April’s mortgage rate is 3.95, down 44 basis points (one percentage point equals 100 basis points) from last year. Nationally, affordability is down from 168.6 in April 2014 to 164.9 in April 2015.
  • Affordability is down from one month ago in all regions, and the Midwest had the largest drop of 5.8% while the South fell only 2.2%. From one year ago, affordability is down in all regions except the Northeast which increased 2.6% as price growth slows down. In other regions, the decline from a year ago was relatively small as mortgage rates lower than a year ago helped but could not completely offset increases in home prices. The Midwest saw the biggest decline in affordability at 2.4 %. The South had the smallest decline of 1.1% followed by the West at 1.7%. Both the South and West have recently experienced healthy job growth.
  • Positive factors: Low mortgage rates, job creation, less investors, and less competition.
  • Mortgage applications are currently up and rates are expected to rise. This may be a good time for return and first time home buyers to surge back into the housing market before rates climb higher, further reducing affordability.
  • 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 (principle and interest payment to income).  See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.

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