Unexpectedly Intriguing!
March 3, 2016

We had to wait until Monday, 29 February 2016 to get the monthly household income data from Sentier Research for December 2015, but we're now able to update our chart showing the trajectory of median new home sale prices versus median household income for each month of the last 15 years over which this data is available.

U.S. Median New Home Sale Prices vs Median Household Income, December 2000 through December 2015

According to the chart, the trailing twelve month average of median U.S. new home sale prices peaked in September 2015 at $296,375. Since then, as median household incomes have risen, new homes have become more affordable, as they have not risen in price in recent months.

Affordability is a relative concept however where median new home sale prices are concerned. If the long term relationship that existed between median new home sale prices and median household income during the years from 1987 through 1999 still held, median new home sale prices today would cost almost 30% less than they actually do.

Meanwhile, if we consider the more recent relationship that existed between median new home sale prices and median household income from December 2010 until July 2012, basically the period of time in which new home sale prices stabilized after the popping of the first U.S. housing bubble and before the onset of the second U.S. housing bubble, median new home sale prices today are about 18% higher than that relative level of affordability.

So in case you're wondering where a good part of all the inflation is hiding....


Sentier Research. Household Income Trends: December 2015. [PDF Document]. 29 February 2016. [Note: We have converted all the older inflation-adjusted values presented in this source to be in terms of their original, nominal values (a.k.a. "current U.S. dollars") for use in our charts, which means that we have a true apples-to-apples basis for pairing this data with the median new home sale price data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.]

U.S. Census Bureau. Median and Average Sales Prices of New Homes Sold in the United States. [Excel Spreadsheet]. Accessed 29 February 2016.

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