Where Americans Are Buying Houses

U.S. home affordability in the second quarter of this year was at its lowest level since the third quarter of 2008. The median national home price was $253,000 in the second quarter, and 45% of U.S. counties were less affordable than their historic levels, the highest percentage since the fourth quarter of 2009.

There are, however, some markets where more than double the national average of people plan to buy houses in the July through September quarter. That intention was measured by Attom Data Services, which maintains a data warehouse on U.S. real estate and owns, among other websites, RealtyTrac.

Attom used data collected from home purchase loan applications to create a “pre-mover” housing index that indicates a ratio of homes likely to be sold in the next 30 to 90 days to the total number of homes in a given geography. The pre-mover index for a local market is then indexed off the national average, which is set at 100. An index score above 100 indicates an above-average number of homes are likely to be sold in that market.

Of 309 U.S. counties analyzed, 189 had a pre-mover index above the national average in the second quarter. The average unemployment rate in those counties was 4.2%, compared with 4.5% in the 120 counties that posted pre-mover index scores below the national average.

These are the 10 metro areas with the highest pre-mover index in the second quarter of this year:

  1. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  2. Chicago, Illinois
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Reno, Nevada
  5. Lexington, Kentucky
  6. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida
  7. Kingsport-Bristol, Tennessee
  8. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  9. Jacksonville, Florida
  10. Charleston, South Carolina

The five metro areas with the lowest pre-mover index scores were:

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. Rochester, New York
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. Providence, Rhode Island
  5. Grand Rapids, Michigan

The metro areas with the highest scores also have more affordable housing. Attom said that in the 189 counties where index scores were above the national average, the average percentage of wages needed to buy a median-priced home was 38%, compared to 42% in the 120 counties where pre-mover index scores were below the national average.

Visit the Attom website for more details and an interactive map.