Although the housing market has shown signs of cooling in certain areas after all-time highs throughout 2022, new data has found that housing affordability is still a widespread issue for Americans.
According to the Atlanta Fed’s Housing Affordability Monitor, housing affordability is worse today than it was more than a decade ago during the housing bubble of 2008. As of December 2022, the average American household would need to spend 42.9% of its income to afford a median-priced home. This marks a new high since August 2006, when it was 41.1%. The data also found that affordability declined 24% year-over-year.
The steep decline in housing affordability could be the result of ongoing high prices for housing coupled with rising mortgage rates. When the housing market boomed during the pandemic into 2021 and much of 2022, home prices reached record highs across the country.
Over the past year, as prices began to box out millions of would-be buyers and the Fed raised interest rates, demand finally began to slow. Still, despite the decline in home prices, housing affordability is at an all-time low, and the total value of American homes is still up 6.5% from the same period a year ago, according to the data. Although mortgage rates are high, they’re not as high as they were at the peak of November 2022 at 7.08%, so the slight decline sparked a minor uptick in homebuyers at the beginning of 2023, demonstrating just how competitive the housing market still is.
For those looking to buy a home, it might be wise to wait it out for a few more months.