Home Affordability Returns to Pre-Bubble Levels

(…) Nationally, the ratio of home prices to annual household income reached a peak of 2.3 in late 2005. But by last September, it had fallen to 1.6, matching the lowest level in the 35 years the data have been collected and well below the historical average of 1.9 between 1989 and 2003.

“Based on incomes, this is as affordable as it gets,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “If you can get a loan, these are pretty good times to buy.” (…)

Measured by the price-to-rent ratio—the price of a typical home divided by the annual cost of renting that home—prices are fairly valued, or undervalued, in around 20 markets. Nationally, the price-to-rent ratio stood at 14.85 at the end of September, above the 1989-2003 average of 12. The data suggest pockets of the country have further to fall.(…)

Nearly 27% of homeowners with a mortgage were underwater at the end of the fourth quarter, up from 23.2% in the previous quarter, according to data to be published Wednesday by Zillow.com, a real-estate website. (…)

Full WSJ article

 

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