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Economy in Brief

U.S. Housing Affordability Falls Further in June
by Tom Moeller  August 12, 2021

• Home prices surge, lifting monthly mortgage payments.

• Family income edges up.

• Interest rates are little changed.

The National Association of Realtors' Fixed Rate Mortgage Housing Affordability Index declined 3.9% during June (-15.8% y/y) to 146.3, its lowest level since November 2018. Affordability has fallen 15.8% during the last 12 months. A Housing Affordability Index of 100 indicates that a family earning the median income qualifies for an 80% mortgage on a median-priced existing single-family home. This index has been above 100 in each month since July 1990, reaching its all-time high of 213.3 in January 2013.

Affordability was reduced during June as the median sales price of a home rose 3.9% (24.4% y/y) to $370,600. That raised principal & interest payments to $1,255 per month (21.5% y/y) and 17.1% of income, the highest level since November 2018.

Family income inched 0.1% higher (2.3% y/y) to $88,139 following two straight months of sharp decline. The effective mortgage interest rate was relatively stable at 3.03% in June. It reached a high of 4.99% late in 2018.

Data on Housing Affordability can be found in Haver's REALTOR database. Median home sale prices also are located in USECON. Higher frequency interest rate data can be found in SURVEYW, WEEKLY, and DAILY.

Housing Affordability Jun May Apr Y/Y % 2020 2019 2018
Fixed Rate Mortgage Housing Affordability Index (100+=More Affordable) 146.3 152.3 157.2 -15.8 172.3 161.3 147.9
  Payment as a Percent of Income 17.1 16.4 15.9 14.4 14.5 15.5 17.0
  Principal and Interest Payment ($) 1,255 1,205 1,184 21.5 1,028 1,044 1,079
  Monthly Mortgage Rate (%)   3.03 3.01 3.11 3.22 3.17 4.04 4.72
  Median Family Income ($) 88,139 88,067 89,339 2.3 84,969 80,808 76,401
  Median Sales Price (Existing Single-Family Home, $) 370,600 356,800 346,200 24.4 298,708 272,333 259,458
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