DataMarkets & Economy

Wage growth and home affordability shows long-term improvement

RealtyTrac analyzes county-level data for fluctuations in affordability
  • Wage growth is up in 72 percent of housing markets, and outpacing home price appreciation in the majority (55 percent) of markets.
  • The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is down 37 basis points from a year ago.
  • Americans need 35.4 percent of weekly wages to buy on average.
  • Brooklyn is the most unaffordable market, where buyers need 121.7 percent of average weekly wages to buy a median-priced home.

The financial elements of homebuying are improving for most Americans, according to RealtyTrac. Wage growth, home price slowdown and falling interest rates are helping boost affordability in many county-level markets, according to the data firm’s Q2 Home Affordability Index. Wage growth alone is up in 72 percent of housing markets and outpacing home price appreciation in the majority (55 percent) of markets, according to to index. Home price appreciation actually slowed in 68 percent of markets; the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is down 37 basis points from a year ago. The number of unaffordable markets -- based on individual historically normal affordability since the first quarter of 2005 -- dropped by 20 percent year-over-year. Still, 18 percent of U.S. county housing markets are below their historical normal (since first quarter of 2005), up 5 percent from last quarter. "There is a dark cloud with a silver lining, the dark cloud being ...