Three Factors That Affect Affordability

Sunday, January 29, 2023   /   by Sarah Thompson

Three Factors That Affect Affordability

If you’ve been following the housing market over the last couple of years, you’ve likely heard about growing affordability challenges. But according to experts, the key factors that determine housing affordability are projected to improve this year.
The three measures used to establish home affordability are mortgage rates, home prices and wages. Here’s a closer look at each one.
1. Mortgage Rates
Mortgage rates shot up to over 7% last year, causing many buyers to put their plans on hold. But things are looking different today as rates are starting to come down.
Even a small change in rates can impact your purchasing power. Nadia Evangelou, Director of Forecasting for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), gives this context:
“With a 6% rate instead of 7%, buyers pay about $2,700 less every year on their mortgage. As a result, owning a home becomes affordable to about 1.4 million more renters and 4.3 million more homeowners.”
If 7% rates paused your homebuying plans last year, this could be the opportunity you need to get back in the game. We work with a team of experts who know the latest on mortgage rates and can give you the best advice for the current market.
2. Home Prices
The second factor at play is home prices. Home prices have made headlines over the past few years because they skyrocketed during the pandemic. When discussing home prices in 2023, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, says:
“After a big boom over the past two years, there will essentially be no change nationally . . . Half of the country may experience small price gains, while the other half may see slight price declines.”
So, while prices have been stabilizing in the Austin market, we are likely to see small gains over the next year with the number of people moving to the area.
3. Wages
The final component in the affordability equation is wages. This graph uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to show how wages have increased over time:

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When you think about affordability, remember the full picture includes more than just mortgage rates and prices. Wages need to be factored in as well. Because wages have been rising, many buyers have renewed opportunity in the market.
While affordability hurdles are not completely going away this year, based on current trends and projections, 2023 should bring some sense of relief to homebuyers who have faced growing challenges. As Mike Fratantoni, Chief Economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), says:
“Rates are expected to move lower for the year, and home price growth is expected to cool, both of which will help affordability challenges.”
If you have questions, let’s connect. You’ll also want to make sure you have a trusted lender so you can explore your financing options. We work with several great lenders we can refer you to as well. You may be closer to owning a home than you think.
1210 Cottonwood Creek Trail, Ste 530
Cedar Park, TX 78613

Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 2024.® IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use. It may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. The Austin Board of REALTORS®, ACTRIS and their affiliates provide the MLS and all content therein "AS IS" and without any warranty, express or implied. Data last updated: June 14, 2024
Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the period through 2024.® IDX information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use. It may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. The Austin Board of REALTORS®, ACTRIS and their affiliates provide the MLS and all content therein "AS IS" and without any warranty, express or implied. Data last updated: June 14, 2024
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