In the last year, there has been widespread discussion about the affordability of housing and the increasing constraints it has faced. However, there’s been a recent sigh of relief as mortgage rates have seen a decline since their peak in October. Yet, understanding home affordability goes beyond just tracking mortgage rates; it involves a careful consideration of three crucial factors: mortgage rates, home prices, and wages. Let’s dive into the latest data on each component to comprehend the positive shift in affordability.
Mortgage Rates: Recently, mortgage rates have experienced a downturn, with experts anticipating a further decline throughout the year. While there might be some fluctuations, the general expectation is for mortgage rates to trend downward, provided the economy continues making progress on inflation. Even a minor drop in mortgage rates can have a significant impact purchasing power.
Home Prices: The second critical factor is home prices, which, after a relatively normal pace of increase last year, are expected to rise moderately in 2024. Despite a projected growth in inventory, the demand still outpaces the available homes for sale. The expected rise in available homes could be counteracted by a growing number of prospective buyers, resulting in a modest uptick in the median home price in the U.S. This in turn, results in a positive scenario where prices are expected to grow steadily rather than experiencing the sharp spikes seen during the pandemic.
Wages: Affordability is further enhanced by the positive trend in rising income. Data from the Federal Reserve indicates that wages are currently growing at a rate above the typical trendline. This means that income is increasing at a higher rate than normal, reducing the percentage of income required to cover monthly mortgage costs. Higher wages play a pivotal role in improving affordability by allowing buyers to allocate a smaller portion of their income toward housing expenses.
What This Means for You: The combined effect of declining mortgage rates, moderate growth in home prices, and rising wages paints a positive picture for homebuyers. If you’re contemplating buying a home, understanding these key factors is crucial and I’m always here as a resource to answer your questions or provide insight.