Homes were slightly more affordable in first quarter

by Steve Randall12 May 2017
There was a slight improvement in housing affordability in the first three months of 2017 despite a rise in mortgage rates.

The National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index reveals that 60.3% of all new and existing homes nationwide were affordable to families earning the median $68,000 income. This was up from 59.9% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

This was helped by rising employment and wages but also a slip in the median home price to $245,000 in the first quarter of 2017 compared to $250,000 in the last three months of 2016.

“Ongoing job growth continues to fuel demand for housing, while wage growth is helping to offset the effects of rising mortgage rates and keep home prices affordable,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “NAHB anticipates that housing will continue on a gradual, upward path throughout the year.”

The most affordable market was Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. where a family with a regional median income could afford almost 93% of homes.

The rest of the top 5 most-affordable markets were: Elgin, Ill.; Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton, Pa.; Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Syracuse, N.Y.

The least affordable market was San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif. where a family with the regional median income of $108,400 could only afford 11.8% of homes.

California takes the rest of the top 5 most unaffordable markets too: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale; Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine; San Diego-Carlsbad; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (tied with San Diego).

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