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Home affordability falls to lowest point in 33 years

By Mike Wheatley | August 24, 2022

Mortgage repayments have risen by an average of 54% compared to the previous year, according to the National Association of Realtor’s June Housing Affordability Index. Meanwhile, household incomes have only increased by 5.8% over the same period.

What that means is that housing affordability is now at its weakest level in 33 years, the NAR says. Median home prices have risen to a record-breaking $413,800, a pace that “far exceeds wage gains, especially for low- and middle-income workers,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The NAR’s data shows that home affordability took a massive hit in the second quarter. The average monthly mortgage repayment on a median single-family home has jumped by almost a third during that period, compared with the first quarter. Meanwhile, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has almost doubled in the last year.

In June, the NAR’s data shows that the average monthly mortgage repayment was $1,944, up from just $1,265 a year before. That’s an extra $679 per month that households have to come up with. As a percentage of incomes, mortgage repayments now account for 25.4%. Financial experts generally agree that if a housing repayment exceeds 25% of someone’s income, then it is considered “unaffordable”.

“Monthly mortgage payments have soared compared to last year, and rising home prices are not helping affordability conditions,” said Michael Hyman, a research data specialist at NAR, in the association’s Economists’ Outlook blog. “One good sign for the housing market is a welcome increase in the supply of inventory. Another is that rates recently have cooled, slowing the pace of growing monthly mortgage payments.”

The most affordable region for housing in the U.S. is the Midwest, where median household incomes are $90,650 per year, and where a qualifying income of $68.496 is required to buy a median-priced home.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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