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RealtyTrac report finds local housing market remains affordable

RealtyTrac report finds local housing market remains affordable

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Home affordability remains in an overall sweet spot in Forsyth County when measuring the percentage of monthly wages dedicated to mortgage payments, RealtyTrac said in a report timed for release today.

RealtyTrac, a national real-estate research company, said average homeowners in Forsyth needed to put 22.9 percent of their monthly household wages toward their mortgage during the first quarter. The data is available only by county.

The affordability range was based on a wage of $883 a week for an $111,994 house with a 3 percent mortgage interest rate. Historically, the average homeowner spent 25.6 percent of household wages for the mortgage.

RealtyTrac has maintained a “buy” recommendation for the Forsyth housing market, based on a $1,059 monthly rent-to-own payment requiring nearly 30 percent of the average household income.

Most Realtors recommend not dedicating more than one-third of the household income to housing costs.

“That 22.9 percent affordability metric for Forsyth indicates there is room for growth in home prices, given that the average affordability percentage for buying nationwide is 29 percent,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

Affordability for rent-to-own was calculated by dividing the annual fair-market rent for a three-bedroom property in each county by the estimated median household income. Affordability for buying was calculated by dividing the annualized house payment for an average-priced three-bedroom property, also by the estimated median household income.

An estimated home payment amount factored in a 10 percent down payment, a 30-year fixed-rate loan with the average interest rate from the Freddie Mac primary mortgage market survey, and related property and mortgage insurance costs and property taxes.

“Although nearly 1 in 5 U.S. housing markets was not affordable by historic standards in the second quarter, the good news is that affordability is improving compared to a year ago in the majority of markets thanks to a combination of slowing home price appreciation and accelerating wage growth, along with falling interest rates,” Blomquist said.

“Affordability constraints are beginning to rein in home price appreciation, even while wage growth is gaining speed in an increasing number of markets,” he said.

rcraver@wsjournal.com (336) 727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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