Affordable homeownership opportunities continue to be an elusive object in the housing market, according to First American Financial Corp.’s newly-released First American Real House Price Index (RHPI) for June.
The report measures the price changes of single-family properties throughout the nation, adjusted for the impact of income and interest rate changes on consumer house-buying power over time at national, state, and metropolitan area levels. According to the RHPI:
- Real house prices decreased 0.2% between May and June and declined by 4.8% year-over-year.
- Consumer house-buying power, how much one can buy based on changes in income and interest rates, increased 1.1% between May and June and increased 13.7% year-over-year.
- Median household income inched up by 0.2% from May to June; since January 2000, this measurement rose by 64%.
- Real house prices are 22.4% less expensive than in January 2000.
- While unadjusted house prices are now 13.5% above the housing boom peak in 2006, real house-buying power-adjusted house prices remain 45% below their 2006 housing boom peak
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, noted that the housing market “has thus far managed an impressive V-shaped recovery” despite the chaos that the COVID-19 pandemic had on the rest of the economy, although he observed that “growing demand against dwindling supply has worsened the supply and demand imbalance, which will continue to drive nominal house price appreciation.”
“Nationally, house-buying power, how much home one can afford to buy given their income and the prevailing 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, continues to outpace nominal house price appreciation, resulting in a 4.8 percent improvement in affordability relative to one year ago,” Fleming continued. “Yet, all real estate is local and affordability dynamics can vary greatly at the market level … In June, the RHPI increased in 35 of the 44 markets we track year-over-year, meaning affordability declined in each.”
Vermont led the states with greatest year-over-year RPHI at 10.6%, followed by New Mexico at 10.3%) and Montana at 9.4%), while Louisiana recorded the greatest decrease with a 10.1% drop. Among the nation’s major metro areas, New York City had the greatest year-over-year RPHI increase at 29.3% and Las Vegas had the greatest decrease with a 25.6% plummet.