ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest multi-sourced property database, today released its Q2 2017 U.S. Home Affordability Index, which shows that the U.S. median home price of $253,000 in Q2 2017 was at the least affordable level since Q3 2008, a nearly nine-year low in affordability.
The national home affordability index was 100 in the second quarter of 2017, the lowest national affordability index since Q3 2008, when the index was 86, and meaning the share of average wages needed to buy a median-priced home nationwide was on par with its historic average (full methodology).
The report also shows that 210 of 464 U.S. counties analyzed for the index (45 percent) were less affordable than their historic affordability norms in Q2 2017 — the highest share since Q4 2009.
“While home price appreciation in the second quarter accelerated to the fastest pace in more than three years, wage growth turned negative, posting the biggest year-over-year decrease in five years in Q4 2016 — the most recent average weekly wage data available,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “That combination of accelerating home price growth and slowing wage growth, along with mortgage interest rates that are up nearly 50 basis points from a year ago, eroded home affordability nationwide to the lowest level in nearly nine years.”
Home prices rise faster than weekly wages in 87 percent of markets
Median home prices in Q2 2017 grew at a faster annual pace than average weekly wages in 403 of the 464 counties analyzed in the report (87 percent).
“All counties within in the Seattle market area saw a sharp contraction in affordability between Q1 and Q2, which is disturbing,” said Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, covering Seattle. “The local economy is firing on all cylinders but the number of homes for sale remains at almost historic low levels and this is putting intense upward pressure on home prices as demand far exceeds supply.”
Counties with the lowest affordability index (least affordable relative to historic norms for the county) in Q2 2017 were Denver County, Colorado (74); Genesee County, Michigan in the Flint metro area (75); Adams County, Colorado in the Denver metro area (77); Arapahoe County, Colorado in the Denver metro area (78); and Weld County, Colorado in the Greeley metro area (78)
Nationwide in Q2 2017, buying a median-priced home required 31.8 percent of average wages. Counties with the highest share of average wages needed to buy a median-priced home in Q2 2017 were Marin County, California, in the San Francisco metro area (126.4 percent); Kings County (Brooklyn), New York (125.9 percent); Santa Cruz County, California (112.3 percent); Summit County, Utah in the Summit Park metro area (107.8 percent); and Monroe County, Florida, in the Key West metro area (100.3 percent).
“Housing affordability across Southern California continues to be a concern as we approach the second half of 2017; however, with anticipation of increasing residential inventory levels, and growing job starts involving medical, technology, and financial sectors, we feel that housing affordability will likely improve as we approach 2018,” said Michael Mahon, president at First Team Real Estate, covering Southern California, where median-priced homes in Q2 2017 on average required two-thirds of average wages.
Average wage earners would need to spend less than 25 percent of their income to buy a median-priced home in 102 of the 464 counties (22 percent) analyzed for the report, including counties in Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
“Ohio continues to be a very affordable housing market, even though we are seeing an overall statewide increase in housing prices,” said Matthew Watercutter, senior regional vice president and broker of record for HER Realtors, covering Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati in Ohio.
ATTOM Data Solutions is the curator of the ATTOM Data Warehouse, a multi-sourced national property database that blends property tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure, environmental risk, natural hazard, health hazards, neighborhood characteristics and other property characteristic data for more than 150 million U.S. residential and commercial properties. The ATTOM Data Warehouse delivers actionable data to businesses, consumers, government agencies, universities, policymakers including bulk file licenses, APIs and customized reports.