Atlanta Fed Releases Housing Affordability Data Tool

The Atlanta Fed announced the release of its latest research data tool in a suite of tools. The U.S. Home Ownership Affordability Monitor, or HOAM, is an interactive home affordability tool that will help business analysts, business economists, media, and others track changes in home affordability.

"Investigating housing affordability helps us understand the relative health of the housing market," said Domonic Purviance, a senior financial specialist in the Atlanta Fed's Supervision, Regulation, and Credit Division. Purviance, who helped develop the tool, continued: "At a time when more people than ever are facing affordability challenges, this tool will help us get a pulse on how affordability is trending or changing."

HOAM measures the ability of a median-income household to absorb the estimated annual costs associated with owning a median-priced home. Using the Department of Housing and Urban Development's standard 30 percent share of income threshold to measure affordability, the tool presents a national view of affordability for the median buyer from January 2006 through the most current data, and a metro-level view of affordability for the median-income buyer from January 2014 through the most current data.

"There are a lot of very good housing affordability tools out there," said Jessica Dill, director of the Atlanta Fed's Center for Housing and Policy. "What makes ours unique is that it sits at the intersection of three things. One, it provides a comprehensive view of the costs associated with home ownership, including mortgage principal and interest payments, mortgage insurance, home owners insurance, and real property taxes. Two, we update the data every month. And three, we include data at finer levels of geography, down to the county level within metropolitan areas," she continued.

While HOAM provides a reference point that allows the user to track home owner affordability trends for median-income households, "we know affordability challenges are much more acute for rental households, especially those renter households at the low- and moderate-income level," explained Dill. The Atlanta Fed's Southeastern Rental Affordability Tracker allows users to explore the availability of affordable rentals as well as cost-burdened households.

Look for HOAM with the Atlanta Fed's other data tools on the Atlanta Fed website.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta serves the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and sections of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. As part of the nation's central banking system, the Atlanta Fed participates in setting national monetary policy, supervises numerous commercial banks, and provides a variety of financial services to depository institutions and the U.S. government.

Contact: Jessica Dill at (404) 498-8429 or Domonic Purviance at (404) 498-7968, both of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta