February 2019 Housing Affordability Index

Bobby and Lindsey
Published on April 16, 2019

February 2019 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is up from last month but down from a year ago. Mortgage rates were down from last month at 4.60 percent this February, and up 4.1 percent compared to 4.42 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in February moving the index down 2.8 percent from 161.5 to 156.9. The median sales price for a single family home sold in February in the US was $251,400 up 3.6 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 18 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points).
  • The payment as a percentage of income was down from last month at 15.9 percent this February and up from 15.5 percent from a year ago. Regionally, the West has the highest payment at 22.3 percent of income. The South had the second highest payment at 15.7 percent followed by the Northeast at 15.3 percent. The Midwest had the lowest payment as a percentage of income at 12.4 percent.

  • Regionally, the Midwest recorded the biggest increase in home prices at 5.5 percent. The Northeast had an increase of 3.9 percent while the West had a gain of 3.5 percent. The South had the smallest gain in price of 2.2 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Northeast had the biggest drop in affordability of 5.3 percent. The Midwest had a decline of 5.1 percent followed by the South that fell 1.8 percent. The West had the smallest drop of 0.9 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in three of the four regions while the South was flat. The Northeast region had the biggest increase of 3.7 percent. The Midwest had an incline of 2.8 percent. The West had the smallest increase in affordability of 0.4 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 202.2. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 112.2. For comparison, the index was 159.6 in the South, and 163.4 in the Northeast.

  • Mortgage applications are currently down while credit availability and new home purchase applications increased. There has been an increase in inventory of modestly prices homes. Median family incomes are growing 2.8 percent while home prices increased 3.6 percent. Despite being down from last year, affordability is up from last month in the US and in three of the four regions with the South being flat. Interest rates have dropped two months in a row, which will lower mortgage payments for future homebuyers.

  • What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release here.
  • The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principal and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.

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