Mortgage payments up 46.4% in Houston, as housing affordability hits 15-year low

by Liz Hughes

Houston mortgage payments have grown 46.4%, as housing affordability hits a 15-year low, according to a new report. 

Zillow’s latest market report found rising mortgage costs, along with skyrocketing prices and interest rates have made mortgages less affordable than they’ve been since 2007. 

The hit to affordability has lessened demand, eased price growth, slowed sales and boosted inventory, according to the report. 

In early June, mortgage rates averaged 5.78%, bringing the monthly mortgage payment on a typical home to $2,127, 51% higher than last year.

Mortgage payments on a typical Houston-area home are $2,032 a month, based on last week’s mortgage rates. That’s up 46.4% compared to May 2021.

Zillow economist Nicole Bachuad said mortgage rates took an unprecedented leap skyward over the past two weeks and quickly multiplied housing costs as they rose.

“We are already seeing signs of waning demand and expect these recent rate hikes to quicken the market’s needed rebalancing,” she said. “While shoppers will likely experience less competition for homes than the frenzied recent months, their purchasing power has dwindled.”  

While inventory continues to recover from its February low, it’s still 50% below 2019 levels. 

With incomes lagging behind the fast-growing mortgage costs, homeowners are facing the most serious affordability challenges they’ve seen in the past 15 years. Data from April showed monthly mortgage payments amount to 28% of a homeowner’s monthly income. 

The typical Houston home is worth $306,192, up 23.2% year over year.

And while rents are also increasing, rising mortgage costs still make renting a cheaper option throughout the U.S., according to Zillow. Mortgage payments are higher than rent in 45 of the 50 largest U.S. metros, up from 22 in 2019. 

The typical monthly rent in Houston is $1,575, up 11.7% from May 2021.

Zillow also found that price appreciation is starting to slow, and after setting new record highs for the past 13 months, it caused home values to turn a corner last month, when they registered a slower annual growth path of 20.7%, down from April’s 20.9% in a sign that demand is finally lessening. 

The typical home is worth $659,089, up 15% year over year and 34.2% since 2019.

“Arriving in the middle of the spring selling season, this deceleration is a clear signal that buyers are dialing back their demand for homes in the face of daunting affordability challenges,” said Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow.  

That trend, according to the report, shows the high-velocity rate of price increases seen over the last year is beginning to slow.

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