Blurb: At the national level, housing affordability is down from last month and down from a year ago. Mortgage rates fell to 4.42 percent this February, down 0.2 percent compared to 4.43 percent a year ago.
Housing affordability declined from a year ago in February moving the index down 2.7 percent from 164.0 to 159.6. The median sales price for a single family home sold in February in the US was $243,400 up 5.9 percent from a year ago.
Nationally, mortgage rates were down one basis point from one year ago (one percentage point equals 100 basis points) while median family incomes rose 2.9 percent.
Regionally, the West recorded the biggest increase in price at 8.5 percent. The South had an increase of 5.4 percent while the Midwest had a gain of 4.6 percent. The Northeast had the smallest incline in price of 2.9 percent.
Regionally, three of the four regions saw a decline in affordability from a year ago. The Northeast had a slight gain of 0.6 percent. The West had the biggest decline of 5.8 percent. The South followed with a drop of 2.4 percent. The Midwest had the smallest decline of 1.3 percent.
On a monthly basis, affordability is up from last month in two of the four regions. The South had a decline of 3.9 percent followed by the West with a dip of 3.3 percent. The Midwest had an increase of 2.6 percent followed by the Northeast, which had the biggest, gain in affordability of 3.4 percent.
Despite month-to-month changes, the most affordable region was the Midwest, with an index value of 212.8. The least affordable region remained the West where the index was 110.0. For comparison, the index was 160.3 in the South, and 176.6 in the Northeast.
Mortgage applications are currently up 4.9 percent. Foot traffic is up which shows there are plenty of potential homebuyers.Even though rates are slightly down from a year ago, they are rising. Incomes are still being out paces by home prices. Affordability continues to be an issue especially in regions where housing supply is tight.
What does housing affordability look like in your market? View the full data release here.
The Housing Affordability Index calculation assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 25 percent qualifying ratio (principal and interest payment to income). See further details on the methodology and assumptions behind the calculation here.
March 2018 Existing Home Sales
NAR released a summary of existing-home sales data showing that housing market activity this March increased 1.1 percent from last month but fell 1.2 percent from last year. March’s existing home sales reached 5.60 million seasonally adjusted annual rate.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $250,400 in March, up 5.8 percent from a year ago. This marks the 73nd consecutive month of year over year gains.
Regionally, all four regions showed growth in prices from a year ago, with the West leading all regions with an incline of 7.9 percent. The South had a gain of 5.7 percent followed by the Midwest with a gain of 5.1 percent. The Northeast had the smallest gain of 3.3 percent from March 2017.
March’s inventory figures are up 5.7 percent from last month to 1.67 million homes for sale. However, compared with March of 2017, fewer homes are available, with inventory down 7.2 percent, marking 34 months of year over year declines. It will take 3.6 months to move the current level of inventory at the current sales pace. Transactions are moving faster and it takes approximately 30 days for a home to go from listing to a contract in the current housing market, down from 37 days a year ago.
From February, two of the four regions experienced declines in sales. The West had the biggest decline of 3.1 percent followed by the South with a drop of 0.4 percent. The Midwest increased 5.7 percent followed by the Northeast, which had the biggest gain of 6.3 percent.
Two of the four regions showed modest inclines in sales from a year ago. The West had the biggest gain in sales of 0.8 percent followed by the South with an increase of 0.4 percent. The Northeast had the biggest drop in sales of 9.3 percent followed by the Midwest with a decline of 1.5 percent. The South led all regions in percentage of national sales, accounting for 42.9 percent of the total, while the Northeast had the smallest share at 12.1 percent.
In March, single-family sales increased 0.6 percent and condominiums sales rose 5.2 percent compared to last month. Single-family home sales fell 1.8 percent and condominium sales were down 3.2 percent compared to a year ago. Both single-family and condominiums had an increase in price with single-family up 5.9 percent at $252,100 and condominiums up 4.8 percent at $236,100 from March 2017.
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