Department of Numbers

Housing Affordability

Posted Saturday, April 24 2010

There was an excellent article in the New York Times this week on housing affordability. It's timely because I published housing affordability data this week as well. There's more coming, but I've started off with national and state price-to-income and price-to-rent ratios expressed as indices. You can see from the national affordability data that we've come a long ways towards restoring pre-bubble trends in price-to-income and price-to-rent ratios (although we're not there yet). The indices are set to 100 in January of 2000.

It's also interesting to look at the state level data to see which states had affordability problems during the boom years and which didn't. California obviously did. Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio — not so much. Some states have the opposite of an affordability problem. Look at the price-to-rent ratio in Michigan!

Data wise, I'm wringing everything I can out of the Census' American Community Survey for this. And then there's all the data that Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency have on metro markets that I can use for HPI. I'll publish metro level data soon. Until then, David Leonhardt's piece is excellent as are all the accompanying tools and charts. The Times is really getting good at this stuff!