Economic Center Blog
Welcome to the First American Economic Center Blog, a top source for the latest housing market research and analysis driven by Chief Economist Mark Fleming.

Where Lower-Income Renters Can Pursue The Dream Of Homeownership

By Odeta Kushi on December 12, 2019

In 2019, the growth in consumer house-buying power outpaced house price appreciation for the median renter trying to buy the median priced home. But, there are many renters with household incomes below the median income in their cities. We can measure affordability for all renter households based on their household income and the share of homes...

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Topics: Housing Affordability Homeownership First-Time Home Buyer Outlook Report

What Cities Are The Most Affordability Friendly For First-Time Home Buyers?

By Odeta Kushi on December 10, 2019

Housing affordability, or the lack thereof, continued to generate discussion and headlines in 2019. That’s unlikely to change in 2020, as strong demand, driven by low mortgage rates and wage growth, collides with limited housing supply. However, it’s easy to overlook that nearly two-thirds of Americans already own homes so, generally speaking,...

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Topics: Housing Affordability Homeownership First-Time Home Buyer Outlook Report

Has Rising House-Buying Power Accelerated House Price Appreciation?

By Mark Fleming on November 26, 2019

Two of the three key drivers of the Real House Price Index (RHPI), household income and mortgage rates, modestly swung in favor of increased affordability in September, yet affordability declined month over month. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell by 0.01 percentage points and household income increased 0.03 percent compared with August...

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

The Dynamic Forces That Re-Shaped Housing Affordability In 2019

By Mark Fleming on October 28, 2019

Understanding the dynamics that influence consumer house-buying power, how much home one can buy based on changes in income and interest rates, provides a helpful perspective on the housing market. When incomes rise, consumer house-buying power increases. When mortgage rates or nominal house prices rise, consumer house-buying power declines....

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

How Did Affordability Change During The Spring Home-Buying Season?

By Mark Fleming on September 23, 2019

School bells ringing don’t just mark the beginning of a new school year, but for those in housing, they also signal the end of the typical home-buying season, which begins in March. As the school year begins, the housing market is finishing the spring home-buying season with strong marks for affordability. Indeed, two of the three key drivers...

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Topics: Interest Rates Real House Price Index Affordability

Where Do Renters Have An Edge In The Pursuit Of Homeownership?

By Odeta Kushi on September 5, 2019

Traditional measures of affordability can be misleading to potential first-time home buyers because they compare overall median household income with the income required to purchase a median-priced home. However, median household income includes existing homeowner households, which have significantly higher median income than renter households,...

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Topics: Housing Affordability Homeownership First-Time Home Buyer Outlook Report