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Housing Affordability hits Lowest Point in Years, Trade Group Says

(The Center Square) – The U.S. housing market is the most unaffordable that it’s been since the Great Recession, a homebuilding trade group said on Thursday.

Just 42.8% of homes sold in the second quarter of 2022 were “affordable” to households earning the U.S. median income of $90,000 per year, according to new data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index. 

That represents a more than 14% decline since the first quarter of 2022. 

“Rising housing costs stemming from increased interest rates, supply chain disruptions that have led to higher prices for building materials, and a persistent lack of construction workers are dramatically affecting home prices,” NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter said in a statement. 

Overall, the index showed that the national median home price reached a record of $390,000 in the second quarter, a nearly 6.5% increase over the first quarter. 

At the same time, interest rates increased by 1.47 basis points from 3.86% in the first quarter up to 5.33% in quarter two, the largest jump that the index has ever tracked. 

“Policymakers need to focus on mending broken building material supply chains and reducing ineffective zoning and other regulatory policies to help bend the cost curve and enable builders to boost attainable housing production,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. 

In California, just 16% households could afford to purchase a median-priced home in the state in quarter two, according to data from the California Association of Realtors. Between April and July, California’s median home price grew from $817,000 to more than $883,000. 

Homebuyers aren’t finding any relief in the attached home sector either, which includes apartments, townhomes, and condos. 

Only 25% of homebuyers in California were able to afford an attached unit in the second quarter, which carried a median price tag of more than $677,000. The average income needed to afford these properties also increased to more than $159,000 annually because of rising interest rates, the data showed.