Just under a year ago, US home prices finally surpassed their prior all time highs, one decade after the 2006 bubble…
… and haven’t looked back since. Which, all else equal, would be great news for America, where the bulk of middle-class wealth is not in the stock market contrary to conventional wisdom, but in its biggest, and most illiquid asset-cum-investment: one’s home.
There is just one problem: while house prices are once again hitting new all time highs every month, household incomes have failed to keep up; in fact, as the Political Calculations blog shows, in the past two years there has been a distinct trend in home affordability, or lack thereof.
As the first chart below shows, starting in September 2015, the TTM average median new home sale price in the U.S. has been rising at an average rate of $906 per month.
That’s the good news; the bad news is that in terms of affordability, the ratio of the trailing twelve month averages of median new home sale prices to median household income in the U.S. has risen to an all time high of 5.454, which following revisions in the data for new home sale prices, was recorded in July 2017. The initial value for September 2017 is 5.437.
In other words, the median new home in the US has never been more unaffordable in terms of current income.
One final way to visualizie it comes from Ironman’s next chart, which shows the long-term relationship between median new home sale prices and median household income, with the annual data now spanning 2000 through 2016 and the monthly data covering the period from December 2000 through September 2017. It confirms the above: for the average American, buying a new home has never been more unaffordable.