Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Real estate’s February report card

Perspective: Housing affordability at all-time high, but not for all

Since we began tracking the data for the major metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in 1981, there has never been a better time to buy a home. The median-income household needs only 27 percent of their income (an all-time low) to qualify for the median-priced home, and that household is also only paying 3.3 times their income for the house (3.1 is the all-time low). While we acknowledge that there is a tremendous demand/supply imbalance that will probably drive prices lower, long-term-oriented homebuyers have the opportunity of a lifetime in most markets around the country. Phoenix is clearly one of those markets. New York clearly is not. Do prospective buyers in most markets really want to gamble that prices AND mortgage rates will be cheaper next year, or can they take a longer-term view that it doesn't get much better than this? The table below shows the comparison between the current and historical average housing cost/income ratio for the top 20 resale markets in ...