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How Affordable Will Housing Be When Rates Hit 7 Percent?

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Housing affordability has been on the decline this year, but by how much? And what will affordability look like when rates increase?

zillow-housing-affordability-quarter-two-2013-chicago-miami

It’s been an interesting year in the world of housing affordability.

Record low mortgage rates and competitively priced homes produced some of the most affordable housing conditions in decades, but with rates on the rise since May and home prices surging, affordability has taken a bit of a tumble.

Michael Parent, the vice president of operations at Burnet Title Chicago and the current president of the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors, said that though interest rates are holding steady for the time being, he’s advising clients to buy sooner rather than later.

“You definitely have higher buying power this year than next year,” Parent said. “If you’re looking to buy, to id now and get it over with.”

Interestingly, Parent also said that though rates are increasing, the chief driver in un-affordability is low inventory, which has driven home prices on good housing stock higher than anticipated.

But how far, really, has affordability fallen, relative to years past? And what will the affordability situation look like as interest rates inevitably rise to 5, 6, even 7 percent? To find out, we took a look at some interesting new data from Zillow, which compared affordability levels in some of the nation’s top housing markets.

What did we find? See our infographic below for an idea:

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