NAR: Housing affordability remains elusive nationwide


Nationally, homes are less affordable than a year ago, meaning fewer households can afford what’s currently on the market based on household income, according to joint research by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and realtor.com.

“Wages are growing, which is welcome news for prospective buyers, but prices are increasing at a faster rate, up almost six percent in the first two months of 2018,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.   

The Affordability Distribution Score was calculated using data on mortgages, state and metro area-level income, and listings on realtor.com. The score determines affordability for all income ranges as opposed to the median income, and examines the affordability of homes currently on the market, instead of recently sold homes. A score of one or more implies a housing market where homes are “affordable to households in proportion to their income distribution.”  

Housing affordability was measured in each of the 50 states as well as metropolitan areas across the country. Of the top five affordable metropolitan areas in the country, four are in Ohio — Youngstown, Dayton, Toledo and Akron. The least affordable metropolitan areas are all in California — Los Angeles, San Diego-Carlsbad, San Jose-Sunnyvale, Thousand Oaks-Ventura and San Francisco-Oakland.

“The survey confirms that the lack of entry-level supply is putting affordability pressures on too many buyers – especially those at the lower end of the market, where demand is the strongest. This is why first-time buyers continue to struggle finding affordable properties to buy and are making up less than a third of home sales so far this year,” Yun said.

The Atlanta metropolitan area scored 0.77, down 0.06 (7.2 percent) from last year. The state of Georgia scored 0.79, a decrease of 0.05 (6.0 percent) from last year.

A more balanced supply and demand dynamic is causing affordability to improve in certain parts of the country, according to chief economist at realtor.com, Danielle Hale. To improve housing affordability nationwide, the market will need “more homeowners selling, investors releasing their portfolio of single-family homes back onto the market and more single-family housing construction,” according to Yun. 

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