On a national measurement, ATTOM’s home affordability index dropped to 91 in the fourth quarter from 94 in the third quarter; one year earlier, the index was at 106. The latest index reading is the lowest since the 87 reading in the third quarter of 2008. Among 469 counties analyzed for this data report, 357 counties—or 76 percent—recorded an affordability index below 100, down slightly from 78 percent of counties in the third quarter. Nonetheless, home affordability improved on a quarterly basis in 272 of the 469 counties, or 58 percent.
“While poor home affordability continues to cloud the U.S. housing market, there are silver linings in the local data as home price appreciation falls more in line with wage growth,” said Daren Blomquist, Senior Vice President at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Affordability improved from the previous quarter in more than half of all local markets, and one in five local markets saw annual wage growth outpace annual home price appreciation, including high-priced areas such as San Diego, Brooklyn and Seattle.”