Housing Affordability Continues to Slide in Third Quarter

Strengthening house prices and increased interest rates in metros across the country contributed to lower housing affordability in the third quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In all, 64.5 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400. This is down from the 69.3 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the second quarter, and the biggest HOI decline since the second quarter of 2004.

3q13_HOI

The decline in affordability is the result of higher mortgage rates and the more than year-long steady increase in home prices. While affordability has come down from the peak in early 2012, the index still means a family earning a median income can afford 65 percent of homes recently sold.  Some of the decline in the affordability index could be the result of a loss in some more modest priced home sales as tight underwriting standards have limited the purchases by moderate income families.

The HOI is a measure of the percentage of homes sold in a given area that are affordable to families earning the area’s median income during a specific quarter. Prices of new and existing homes sold are collected from actual court records by Core Logic, a data and analytics company. Mortgage financing conditions incorporate interest rates on fixed- and adjustable-rate loans reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., and Syracuse, N.Y. were tied as the nation’s most affordable major housing markets as 93.3 percent of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s third quarter were affordable to families earning the areas’ median incomes of $65,100 and $65,800, respectively. Meanwhile, Kokomo, Ind., claimed the title of most affordable smaller market, with 96.9 percent of homes sold in the third quarter being affordable to those earning the median income of $60,100.

Other major U.S. housing markets at the top of the affordability chart in the third quarter included Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; and Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; in descending order.

Smaller markets joining Kokomo at the top of the affordability chart included Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J.; Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill.; Bay City, Mich.; and Springfield, Ohio.

For a fourth consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. held the lowest spot among major markets on the affordability chart. There, just 16 percent of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $101,200.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; in descending order.

All of the five least affordable small housing markets were in California in the latest quarter. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Santa Cruz-Watsonville, where 20.3 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $73,800. Other small markets at the lowest end of the affordability scale included San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Napa and Salinas, respectively.

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5 Responses to Housing Affordability Continues to Slide in Third Quarter

  1. Nicole Wright says:

    Excellent blog. Affodability is going to be of concern for many people in America. Wages aren’t increasing, new stable FT jobs aren’t readily available yet the cost of homes are increasing along with rates – on top of tightening guidelines on credit in the mortgage industry!

    We have to prepare people with education, advocacy, and options -if they are to attain sustainable homeownership in the years to come.

    This has to be a serious conversation at economic development and community developments meetings/tables when we discuss housing. We have to work hard to understand these issues in the rapidly changing markert.

  2. […] from the National Association of Home Builders: Housing Affordability Continues to Slide in Third Quarter […]

  3. […] of housing affordability – is consistent with these changes. As of the third quarter of 2013, 64.5% of new and existing homes were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income. This is down from 69.3% in the second quarter, and the biggest decline in affordability since the […]

  4. […] The third quarter HOI had a measure of 64.5% (64.5% of homes sold were affordable nationwide for a household with median income), compared to 69.3% during the second quarter […]

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