Modest price increase can push out thousands of buyers, NAHB finds

Nearly 130,000 potential homebuyers in the United States would be unable to afford a newly constructed home if its price increased by $1,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

A study by the group determined that 127,560 households would be able to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced new home based on their income, but would be priced out if the cost of the residence increased by $1,000. The NAHB said an increase to the mortgage rate would have an even more pronounced effect, with a quarter-point rise in the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage making a new home unaffordable for approximately 1 million households.

"This study illustrates how even a relatively small increase in price or interest rates can dramatically impact housing affordability," said Randy Noel, chairman of the NAHB. "Housing affordability is a serious problem right now in communities across the country. Rising interest rates, regulatory barriers, higher building materials costs, and labor shortages all add to the cost of a home, and are preventing households from achieving the goal of homeownership."

The effect of a $1,000 price increase varied considerably by state and metro area. This increase to the median price of a newly constructed home would price out an estimated 11,152 households in Texas along with 9,897 in California and 7,341 in Ohio. The increase had the least anticipated effect in Vermont, pricing out just 158 households, and Rhode Island, where 182 households would no longer be able to afford a new home.

The Chicago metro area was the most vulnerable to a $1,000 price increase among more than 300 metro areas analyzed, preventing an estimated 4,499 households from being able to afford a new home. By contrast, the NAHB estimates that just six households would be priced out in Elmira, N.Y.

The NAHB study concluded that a $1,000 price increase to Connecticut's median new home price of $745,334 would prevent 696 households from being able to purchase such a home.

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