How Affordable, Really, is Chicagoland’s Housing Market?

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Housing affordability has slipped a bit so far in 2013, but does Chicagoland’s housing stock remain affordable relative to other major cities?


Housing affordability slipped a bit from the first quarter to the second quarter in 2013, according to the latest Housing Opportunity Index from the National Association of Home Builders.

Just over 69 percent of the nation’s new and existing homes in the second quarter were affordable to families with the U.S. median income of $64,400, the index found, down from 73.7 percent in the first quarter; that’s the first time the index has fallen below 70 percent since late 2008.

Housing Opportunity Index – Here at Home

David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist, said rising home prices were the primary culprit for the Housing Opportunity Index’s slip.

“Rising home prices signal the improving health in housing markets, and the median price of all new and existing U.S. homes sold in this year’s second quarter, at $202,000, was well ahead of the second quarter 2012 median price of $185,000,” Crowe said. “Together with rising mortgage rates, this contributed to affordability slipping to the lowest level in more than four years.”

But how affordable is the housing stock in Chicagoland, compared to that national average? To find out, we took a peak at the NAHB’s historical data, and put together the following chart, which compares Chicagoland’s housing affordability with the rest of the nation:

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