Will August Uptick in Affordability Continue?

Written by: FirstAm Editor on Oct 30, 2017 8:00:00 AM

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.

“Despite August’s slight increase in affordability, supply constraints continue to drive unadjusted prices higher, producing year-over-year affordability declines in all of the markets tracked by First American.”

“A dip in mortgage rates in August offset rapid price appreciation driven by the lack of supply, as existing homeowners remain reluctant to sell for fear of not being able to find something to buy. However, based on our RHPI, over the past 12 months affordability has declined by more than 9 percent,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American. “Though consumer house-buying power improved in August, affordability is likely to fade as mortgage rates are expected to rise in the months to come, but lower affordability is only significant to potential first-time buyers. Existing homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages benefited from the rising prices with increased equity. If you’re renting and thinking of buying, then now is the time.”

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For Mark’s full analysis on affordability, the top five states and markets with the greatest increases and decreases in real house prices, and more, please visit the Real House Price Index.

The RHPI offers an alternative view of the change over time of house prices at the national, state and metropolitan area level. The traditional perspective on house prices is fixated on the actual prices and the changes in those prices, which overlooks what really matters to potential buyers - their purchasing power, or how much they can afford to buy. The RHPI adjusts prices for purchasing power by considering how income levels and interest rates influence the amount one can borrow.

The RHPI is updated monthly with new data. Look for the next edition of the RHPI the week of November 27, 2017.

Tags: Interest Rates, Real House Price Index, Income, Affordability

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