We keep hearing that home affordability is approaching crisis levels. While this may be true in a few metros across the country, housing affordability is not a challenge in the clear majority of the country. In their most recent Real House Price Index, First American reported that consumer “house-buying power” is at “near-historic levels.”
Their index is based on three components:
- Median Household Income
- Mortgage Interest Rates
- Home Prices
The report explains:
“Changing incomes and interest rates either increase or decrease consumer house-buying power or affordability. When incomes rise and/or mortgage rates fall, consumer house-buying power increases.”
Combining these three crucial pieces of the home purchasing process, First American created an index delineating the actual home-buying power that consumers have had dating back to 1991.
Here is a graph comparing First American’s consumer house-buying power (blue area) to the actual median home price that year from the National Association of Realtors (yellow line).
Consumer house-buyer power has been greater than the actual price of a home since 1991. And, the spread is larger over the last decade.
Even though home prices are increasing rapidly and are now close to the values last seen a decade ago, the actual affordability of a home is much better now. As Chief Economist Mark Fleming explains in the report:
“Though unadjusted house prices have risen to record highs, consumer house-buying power stands at near-historic levels, as well, signaling that real house prices are not even close to their historical peak.”
About the Author:John has been a licensed Real Estate Broker and Realtor in the state of Washington since 2003. He's earned many professional designations such as the Certified Residential Specialist, Graduate of the Realtor Institute and the Accredited Buyers Agent. When John isn't assisting buyers, sellers and investors, you'll find he and his wife flying around the Puget Sound taking full advantage of John's private pilot's license. When they're not flying, they're likely hiking, snowshoeing, really just enjoying all the great northwest has to offer!