Most buyers can still afford a home despite record prices

Nationally, the median listing price for a home rose to $ 370,000 in March, according to the Monthly Housing Trends Report for March from, a 15.6% increase from March 2020 and a record price since started tracking listing prices in 2012.

Additionally, reported that the number of homes on the market in March was 52% lower than in March 2020. While some housing markets are seeing more homes listed as the spring market progresses , there are still 117,000 fewer homes nationwide. listed for sale each month versus the typical number of homes listed each month in recent years.

Listing prices in the country’s largest metropolitan areas increased an average of 12.1% in March compared to March 2020, according to, but in some metropolitan areas the average listing price increased to a much faster pace.

Median listing prices increased 39.8% in Austin, 28.3% in Buffalo, and 24.8% in Los Angeles from March 2020. Median listing prices increased 10.5% % in the New York metropolitan area, but only 1% in the DC metropolitan area in March compared to the same period last year.

Analysis of the figures for the first quarter of 2021 by ATTOM data solutions found that regions where median-priced housing is affordable for the average local worker are shrinking but barely remain the majority at 52 percent. In the first quarter of 2020, homes were more affordable than historical averages in 63% of counties. Five years ago, in the first quarter of 2016, housing was more affordable than the historical average in 95 counties.

ATTOM calculates affordability by comparing the amount of income needed for monthly homeownership expenses, including mortgage payment, property taxes, and home insurance for the median home, assuming a down payment of $ 20. %. This income requirement is compared to salary information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the “affordability” calculation assumes that 28 percent of borrowers’ gross monthly income is required to pay for their home, which is the lender’s preference for mortgage approval.

The combination of low mortgage rates and wage hikes for those who were able to keep their jobs during the pandemic has kept homes affordable in many places, but rising mortgage rates could put more pressure on home buyers. months to come. ATTOM reports that house prices have risen more than wages in nearly 90 percent of markets, another indication that affordability is likely to weaken over the coming year.

To view the full report, click here.

For the full ATTOM report, click here.

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Gloria Turner

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