The National Association of REALTORS® latest economic outlook for the housing market is built upon its Housing Affordability Index. This April 2019 Index assumes a 20% down payment and a 25% qualifying rate for a mortgage.

NAR’s April 2019 Housing Affordability Index indicated a national affordability rate of 152.3. Any number significantly over (more affordable) or under (less affordable) that 152,3 on a regional basis is worth your attention. Take a look:

– Nation-wide             152.3

– Northeast                 170.4

– Midwest                   187.8

– South                        152.9

– West                         111.9

The West saw the largest gain in affordability in April 2019 with a -6.9% decrease in home prices BUT the West is still the least affordable region in the county with a Home Affordability Index value of 111.9. The Northeast increased its affordability rating by +6.7% for a 170.4 Index value. The South increased its affordability rating by +2.3% for a 152.9 Index value and the Midwest increased its affordability rating the least by only +0.8% But, the Midwest is STILL the most affordable region in the country with an Index value of 187.8.

April’s Housing Affordability Index was up +3.4% compared to last year, from 147.3 to 152.3. The median sale price of a single-family house in April 2019 came in at $269,300, an increase of +13.7% compared with last year.

Mortgage rates decreased from last month to 4.3% in April 2019 and decreased -7.7% compared to mortgage rates at 4.66% last year. Nationally, mortgage rates were down 36 base points from one year ago. (1 percentage point is the equivalent of 100 bases points.)

US and Regional Mortgage Rates Year Over Year

– US                             4.30% from 4.66%

-Northeast                  4.25% from 4.57%

– Midwest                   4.44% from 4.75%

– South                        4.37% from 4.70%

– West                         4.17% from 4.62%*

Payment as a Percentage of Income

– US                             16.4%

– Northeast                 14.7%

– Midwest                   13.3%*

– South                        16.3%

– West                         22.3%*

The Midwest saw home prices rose the most in April 2019 with a +5.6% increase. The South saw home prices increase +4.4% and the Northeast saw home prices increase the least at +1.7%.

Overall, NAR’s Economists’ Outlook for the Housing Market in April 2019 indicated…

  • Mortgage applications and credit availability are up.
  • Mortgage rates held down for 4 consecutive months.
  • Median household incomes increased by +2.8%
  • Days on the market (DOM) are fewer.
  • Home prices increased +3.7%

Inventories continue to be down BUT are improving.