Financial advisors might want to warn potential homebuyers: Buying a house hasn’t been this hard since the financial crisis.
In the second quarter, U.S. housing prices were at their least affordable levels since the third quarter of 2008, according to the Q2 2018 U.S. Home Affordability study from ATTOM Data Solutions.
The home affordability index, at 95 in the second quarter, was down from an index of 102 in the previous quarter and down from 103 a year earlier, according to the data. It was the lowest level since the third quarter of 2008, when the index hit 86.
The affordability index is based on the percentage of income that is needed to buy a median-priced home relative to historic averages. An index above 100 indicates that median home prices are more affordable than the historic average, whereas a number below the 100 threshold points to prices that are less affordable than the historic average.
Recently, home prices have been rising faster than wages. Meanwhile, mortgage rates are also increasing the costs for homebuyers.
“Slowing home price appreciation in the second quarter was not enough to counteract an 11% increase in mortgage rates compared to a year ago, resulting in the worst home affordability we’ve seen in nearly 10 years,” Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions, said in a statement. “Meanwhile home price appreciation continued to outpace wage growth, speeding up the affordability treadmill for prospective homebuyers even without the rise in mortgage rates.”
The median home cost $245,000 in the second quarter, up 4.7% from a year ago, according to ATTOM.
Overall, the median home price has increased 75% since hitting a bottom in early 2012, ATTOM data shows. Wages have increased only 13% over that same period.
Annual growth in median home prices outpaced average wage growth in 275 of the 432 counties ATTOM analyzed. Scroll through to see a list of areas with the lowest home affordability indexes.