Housing Affordability in the Tri-Cities

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 2012 was a record year in terms of housing affordability. The Housing Affordability Index is measured by the relationship between median home price, median family income and average mortgage interest rate. A higher index indicates the more purchasing power buyers have.

An index of 100 is the point at which a median-income household has exactly enough income to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home with a 20% down payment and 25% of gross income allotted for monthly mortgage principle and interest.

December’s Index numbers are not yet available, but at the end of November, it stood at 198.2 while it stood at 194 for the year overall – the most affordable on record since the Index was developed in 1970. This is an increase over 2011 when the index was 186 overall (which was the previous record).

Although the Federal Reserve has promised to keep interest rates low and wages are steady and moderately on the rise, interest rates will likely increase slightly in 2013, and with median home prices increasing, the National Association of REALTORS® has predicated the Housing Affordability Index will average 160 during 2013 –  still the third-most-affordable year on record.

Here in the Tri-Cities, the median home price ending third quarter was $184,700, a 1.9% increase over the previous year. And although we have seen unemployment rates rise locally, the ratio between monthly income and mortgage payment remains better than most markets during the third quarter at 10.1% (nationally this ratio is at 13.8%).

This is still a great time to buy a house if you are a first-time homebuyer, or ready to upgrade to something bigger! With interest rates still low and prices have not increased significantly, buyers have more buying power than almost any other time in history. Couple this with bankers lightening their lending requirements in 2013 and it is a phenomenal time to buy. Give us a call to learn more about just how much home you may be able to afford. You may be surprised! Call us:  Jennifer (509) 947-5670 or Jessica (509) 947-2230.



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