There’s a current narrative that owning a home today is less affordable than it has been in the past. The reason some are making this claim is because house prices have substantially increased over the last several years.
It’s not, however, just the price of a home that matters.
Homes, in most cases, are purchased with a mortgage. The current mortgage rate is a major component of the affordability equation. Mortgage rates have fallen by over a full percentage point since December 2018. Another major piece of the affordability equation is a buyer’s income. The median family income has risen by approximately 3% over the last year.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases a monthly Housing Affordability Index. The latest index shows that home affordability is better today than at almost any point over the last 30 years. The index determines how affordable homes are based on the following:
“A Home Affordability Index value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index of 120 signifies that a family earning the median income has 20 percent more than the level of income needed pay the mortgage on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment so that the monthly payment and interest will not exceed 25 percent of this level of income (qualifying income).”
The higher the index, therefore, the more affordable homes are. Here is a graph showing the index since 1990: Obviously, affordability was better during the housing crash when distressed properties – foreclosures and short sales – sold at major discounts (2009-2015). Outside of that period, however, homes are more affordable today than any other year since 1990, except for 2016.
The report on the index also includes a section that calculates the mortgage payment on a median priced home as a percentage of the median national income. Historically, that percentage is just above 21%. Here are the percentages since June of 2018: Again, we can see that affordability is much better today than the historical average and has been getting better over the last year and a half.
Whether you’re thinking about buying your first home or moving up to the home of your dreams, don’t let the false narrative about affordability prevent you from moving forward. From an affordability standpoint, this is one of the best times to buy in the last 30 years.
Start the process today by searching the MLS for your next home. Mortgage interest rates are still historically low and the metro Denver market has more housing inventory that it did a few years ago. Explore the homes available today to get a feel for price points, types of homes, and locations so you have a better feel when it comes time to take a more serious look. My Denver real estate blog is full of useful information for homebuyers considering buying a home. Please call me, or send me an email / text, to discuss your thoughts about your next home.
Please contact me before you look at new construction, remember the builder’s real estate agent represents the builder’s interest, not your’s. There is no cost for you to have a buyer’s agent represent you in a transaction with a sophisticated seller. In fact, I may be able to help you save money and negotiate for extras which the builder may not let you know about.
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Time To Sell Your Home?
When it is time to sell your home in the Denver area, I encourage you to work with a real estate agent who has the experience and knowledge to provide an accurate market comparison so you can determine the right asking price. The market is more balanced now and your asking price is an important component of your selling strategy. And if you are selling your home to then buy a new home, you’re in luck, we are now in a “goldilocks” market ideal for that type of transaction. Contact me today to learn how your home stacks up against the competition and how we can position your property to sell quickly and for a fair price.