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November 14, 2014

Searching for an Affordable Home?

Research and Analysis

Our interactive map shows how affordability changes for the typical homebuyer in their market looking to purchase a median-priced home over time. Of course, affordability depends on where you live and varies by how much you put toward a down payment as well as local taxes and insurance among other things. All these factors and more can be adjusted below to see what’s happening in your metro.

Fifty-two U.S. metros were not affordable as of the third quarter, that’s up from 47 in the second quarter, and up from 36 in the first quarter of the year. Of the three affordability components, nationally, house prices rose a seasonally adjusted 1.2%, incomes rose about 1%, while mortgage rates actually declined from an average of 4.23% to 4.14% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage based on our survey from the previous quarter. So it’s clear that even with a decline in interest rates, that modest income growth was not enough to outpace the increase in house prices in many metros across the country. However, more than 100 markets remain affordable for the typical family.

Since our last update two metros were added: Myrtle Beach, SC and Wilmington, NC, both of which are not considered affordable based on our calculations. Only one metro became affordable, Kingston, NY. And where were the five new markets that joined the not affordable ranks?  Here: Corpus Christi, TX, Madison, WI, New Haven, CT, Trenton, NJ and Yakima, WA.

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