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Economic Center Blog

Will Rising Mortgage Rates Hurt House Prices?

By Mark Fleming on March 26, 2018

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee increased the Federal Funds rate last week, and signaled they expect to increase rates further later this year. It’s clear we have entered the rising interest rate environment that many have been predicting for years. With rising rates the new reality for the housing market, earlier this month we examined the possible impact of a dramatic increase in 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rates on the market potential for sales. We found that even doubling the mortgage interest rate may only reduce the market potential for home sales by about 5 percent.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Potential Home Sales, Real House Price Index, insider, mortgage rates

How Wage Growth Both Helps And Hurts Housing Affordability

By Mark Fleming on February 26, 2018

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that average hourly earnings increased in January by 2.9 percent compared with a year ago. This was a big splash of economic news that had ripple effects on the housing market, as the 2.9 percent increase in wages surpassed expectations.

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Topics: Real House Price Index, affordability

The Affordability Crisis That Isn't

By Mark Fleming on January 29, 2018

That nominal house prices are growing faster than household incomes is often used as the basis for arguing that we are facing an affordability crisis. It is true that unadjusted house prices grew faster than income between November 2016 and November 2017. Our Real House Price Index (RHPI) showed that unadjusted house prices increased by 6.0 percent in November on a year-over-year basis and are 6.3 percent above the housing boom peak in 2007. Over the same 12-month period, household incomes have increased by significantly less, 2.8 percent.

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Topics: Real House Price Index, affordability

The Drag On Affordability Explained

By FirstAm Editor on December 21, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at October 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the market forces that are keeping a lid on affordability.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Homeownership, Real House Price Index, income, affordability

What’s Behind September’s Surprise Increase In Affordability?

By FirstAm Editor on November 27, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at September 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the market forces that sparked a surprising increase in affordability in September.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Homeownership, Real House Price Index, income, affordability

Five Best Cities For Economic Opportunity

By Mark Fleming on November 16, 2017

Amazon’s very public search to identify the best location for its second headquarters made me wonder - what criteria would be helpful for young professionals when making their personal decision on where to live and work? Affordable housing would be important. For example, you can buy so much more home in Texas or Ohio than you can in California. But, when making the decision about where to live, considering what and how many job opportunities exist is also a critical point. The most attractive places to live for young professionals would be where housing costs are reasonable and great job opportunities are abundant. In other words, the top cities for economic opportunity.

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Topics: Real House Price Index, affordability, insider

Will August Uptick In Affordability Continue?

By FirstAm Editor on October 30, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at August 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on what’s behind the surprising increase in affordability in August and whether or not that trend will continue.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Homeownership, Real House Price Index, income, affordability

Supply Squeeze Tightens Grip On Affordability In July

By FirstAm Editor on September 26, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at July 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the supply constraints impacting the housing market.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Homeownership, Real House Price Index, income, affordability

The Fundamental Underlying Issue In The Housing Market

By FirstAm Editor on August 28, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at June 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the prevailing issue facing today’s housing market.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Homeownership, Real House Price Index, income, affordability

What Caused Real House Price Growth To Cool In May?

By FirstAm Editor on July 24, 2017

First American’s proprietary Real House Price Index (RHPI) looks at May 2017 data and includes analysis from First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming on the impact of wages and lower interest rates on consumer house-buying power – a brief reprieve from rising real house prices.

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Topics: Interest Rates, Real House Price Index, income