Housing Affordability Returning to Earth


Housing affordability has been one of the key marketing tools in an agent’s arsenal, but that could be changing soon.

During housing’s down years, agents had a couple of marvelous talking points to use with potential homebuyers – housing prices were at their lowest point in decades; and mortgage rates were at their lowest levels ever, both of which contributed to historic levels of housing affordability. In the present marketplace, though, those talking points may not hold much water.

A couple of points to consider:

•From July 2006 to Jan. 2013, NAR’s Housing Affordability Index, which tracks affordability, rose an incredible 111 percent; a higher index means housing is more affordable. Since then, though, the index has fallen 28.2 percent, and as of June 2014, affordability was at its lowest mark since 2008.

•The patten has been nearly identical with average mortgage payments, which NAR also computes. As a percentage of income, monthly mortgage payments fell 51.9 percent from June 2006 to Jan. 2013; since then, though, they’ve risen 39.3 percent.

See our graph below for more perspective:

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