The Truth About Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is a standard term, but whether it’s growing or shrinking seems to be subject to debate, even when opposing viewpoints are drawing from the same indexes. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that a combination of slightly lower median home prices and steady mortgage rates has contributed to higher housing affordability in the first quarter of 2014.

Drawing from this same index, CNN Money released an article entitled “America’s growing housing affordability gap.” That same CNN Money article repeats some of the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index statistics which highlight how difficult it is for families making the median income in expensive major metropolitan cities like San Francisco, painting a bleak picture of housing affordability in the US. But almost as an afterthought, the author concedes, “Nationwide, affordability has improved.” "Housing affordability remains strong and this is an encouraging sign as the spring home buying season moves into high gear," said NAHB chairman Kevin Kelly. While seeming to contrast with CNN’s article title, it remains the truth, much as most of America is more like Syracuse, NY (the nation’s most affordable major housing market) than Manhattan.

With a continuously growing worry about the mortgage industry’s increasingly complex governmental requirements and regulation decreasing access to credit for many Americans, growth in housing affordability is certainly something we can chalk up to the good side of living in the United States, unless you happen to live somewhere with very little land, like San Francisco.

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