March 2018 Housing Affordability Index

March 2018 Housing Affordability Index

At the national level, housing affordability is down from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates rose to 4.42 percent this March, up 8.2 percent compared to 4.28 percent a year ago.

  • Housing affordability declined from a year ago in March moving the index down 7.0 percent from 150.4 to 161.7. The median sales price for a single family home sold in March in the US was $252,111 up 5.9 percent from a year ago.
  • Nationally, mortgage rates were up 35 basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points), while median family incomes rose 2.7 percent.

  • Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in price at 8.5 percent. The South had an increase of 6.0 percent while the Midwest had a gain of 5.1 percent. The Northeast had the smallest incline in price of 3.5 percent.
  • Regionally, all four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The West had the biggest drop in affordability of 9.2 percent. The South had a decline of 7.3 percent followed by the Midwest with a drop of 5.7 percent. The Northeast had the smallest drop of 2.7 percent.
  • On a monthly basis, affordability is down from last month in all four regions. The West had a decline of 4.7 percent followed by the Northeast with a dip of 5.6 percent. The South had a drop of 5.9 percent followed by the Midwest, which had the biggest; dip in affordability of 8.6 percent.
  • Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 194.7. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 105.6. For comparison, the index was 151.8 in the South, and 163.5 in the Northeast.

  • Mortgage applications are currently down 2.5 percent. Mortgage credit availability in April was flat. Rates are rising which will increase-housing costs. Home prices are up 5.9 percent while median family incomes are only growing 2.7 percent. Inventory gains will help ease the pressure on home prices.
  • 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.


Source: NAR Economist Outlook

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