Nearly Half of U.S. Households Can’t Afford a $250,000 Home

Housing Affordability

NAHB has updated its housing affordability graph for 2024, and the latest data show that 66.6 million households, 49% out of a total of 134.9 million, are unable to afford a $250,000 home.

The graph is based on conventional underwriting standards that assume the cost of a mortgage, property taxes and property insurance should not exceed 28% of household income. Based on this methodology, NAHB economists have calculated how many households have enough income to afford a home at various price thresholds.

2024 Housing Affordability Priced Out Graph
Click here for larger version of the graph.

For example, the minimum income required to purchase a $150,000 home with a mortgage rate of 6.5% is $45,975. At the base of the graph are 40.5 million U.S. households with insufficient incomes (below $45,975) to be able to afford a $150,000 home.

The graph’s second step consists of 26.1 million with enough income to afford a top price somewhere between $150,000 and $250,000. Adding up the bottom two rungs shows that there are 66.6 million households who cannot afford a $250,000 home.

The nationwide median price of a new single-family home is $495,750, meaning half of all new homes sold in the U.S. cost more than this figure and half cost less. A total of 134.9 million households — roughly 77% of all U.S. households — cannot afford this median-priced new home based on a mortgage rate of 6.5%.

The top of the graph shows that 9.8 million households (adding up the top three rungs) have enough income to buy a $850,000 home, and 2.8 million even have enough for a home priced at $1.6 million. But market analysts should never focus on this to the exclusion of the wider steps that support the graph’s base.

This graph clearly illustrates the nation’s housing affordability crisis. NAHB has put out a 10-point plan to address this urgent issue. The plan outlines initiatives that can be taken at the local, state and federal levels to address the root of the problem — impediments to increasing the nation’s housing supply.

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