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Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Housing Affordability Measure Improves in Q1

affordable housing

The National Association of Home Builders, working with Wells Fargo, recently published its Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), which found 65.5 percent of new and existing homes sold from January through March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $63,900. The figure from the first quarter was slightly higher than the 64.7 percent of homes sold that were considered affordable in the fourth quarter of last year.

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‘Favorable’ Price Trends Continue Throughout Q1

Median existing single-family home prices kept marching up in nearly 75 percent of measured markets in the first quarter, though at a slightly lower pace, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported. NAR found the national median existing-single family home price was $191,600 in the first quarter, up 8.6 percent from the previous year.

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Brakes Expected to Keep Pumping on Price Gains

After nearly two years of frenzied price appreciation, home price gains are expected to drop off, according to the latest report from Veros Real Estate Solutions, a provider of enterprise risk management, collateral valuation, and predictive analytics. However, Veros does not cast a negative outlook for the market. Rather, the firm anticipates a stable market with slow price appreciation. “The wave of appreciation may have crested, but it has been an impressive recovery in many respects,” said Eric Fox, VP of statistical an economic modeling at Veros.

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Report: Buying Trumps Renting in Half the Country

A recent break-even horizon analysis by Zillow finds buying a home remains a better longer-term financial decision than renting in half of U.S. metros. "Rents keep rising, and mortgage interest rates remain very low, which is helping to skew the rent vs. buy decision toward buying for those who can afford it," said Zillow chief economist Dr. Stan Humphries.

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Homeownership Rate Tumbles to 19-Year Low

According to figures released by the Census Bureau Tuesday, homeownership dropped last quarter to a rate of 64.8 percent, 0.4 percentage points lower than Q4 2013 and the lowest rate since the third quarter of 1995. Quarter-to-quarter, homeownership was down in all regions except the West, though at 59.4 percent, it remains lower in that region than in any other.

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Down Payment Percentages Continue to Trend Down

Average down payments for mortgages are on the decline, lending a little bit of relief for affordability-challenged homebuyers around the country. According to a report released this week by LendingTree, down payment percentages for 30-year fixed-rate purchase loans fell in the first quarter to an average of 15.78 percent, down from just higher than 16 percent in the last quarter of 2013.

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Home Values Up 5.7% in Q1

Zillow’s Q1 Real Estate Market Report, released Tuesday, shows that home values across the United States are up 5.7 percent (to a national median of $169,800) compared to Q1 2013. This marks the 21st consecutive month that prices, compared year-over-year, have gone up. Even more encouraging is that home values in 527 U.S. cities that saw declines of 10 percent or more during the recession are either at their peak or soon will be.

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Chicago Ranks as Nation’s Most Affordable Market

ZipRealty released Tuesday its list of the top 10 most affordable housing markets of 2014, ranking Chicago as the No. 1 affordable metro. Based on median home sales price data and estimated family income, ZipRealty calculated an Affordability Index of 2.2 for the Windy City, meaning homes are available for just more than twice the annual average household income ($72,400 against a median price of $160,000).

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Analysts: Despite Challenges, Housing Still Attractive

In an analysis gauging the recovery’s progress, Fitch Ratings listed harsh winter weather across the country as one of the biggest factors moderating the housing recovery, though higher interest rates and home prices have also provided some drag. Affordability will likely only deteriorate. Looking at 2014, Fitch expects new home prices to rise between 2.5–3.5 percent, with existing-home prices also moving up.

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41% of Homes Unaffordable on Two Median Incomes

In the nation’s largest cities, a median income is not sufficient to purchase a median-priced home. In fact, even households with two median incomes cannot afford median-priced homes in the 40 largest cities in the United States, according to a Redfin survey released last week. Redfin’s findings concur with data from Zillow revealing median-income earners in Southern California cannot afford more than half of homes for sale in their market.

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