The National Association of REALTORS® reported that the year started off with strong home price growth for the first quarter of 2021. Prices continued to rise, with 89% of the markets showing double-digit home price appreciation. National median prices rose 16.2% year-over-year to $319,200.
Monthly mortgage payments on a single-family home this quarter increased to $1,067 compared to $995 from a year ago. Qualifying median family incomes rose to $51,216 compared to first quarter of 2020, which was $47,760. The effective 30-year fixed mortgage rate decreased to 2.93% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 3.57% one year ago.
Knowing the mortgage rates and the qualifying incomes for down payments will help potential homeowners figure out which metro areas are affordable for them.
Here is a look at the metro areas with the strongest price growth in the first quarter of 2021, as well as a look at the yearly change in median existing single-family home prices among the top five highest- and lowest-growth metro areas of the first quarter of 2021.
These are the top five single-family metro areas with the highest home price appreciation:
These are the bottom five single-family metro areas with the slowest home price appreciation:
These are the most expensive metro areas for the first quarter 2021:
These are the least expensive metro areas for the first quarter 2021:
Qualifying Income Based on Sales Price of Existing Single-family Homes for Metropolitan Areas by Region
For the U.S., at the 5% down-payment threshold, the qualifying income amount for the first quarter of 2021 was $60,819. At the 10% down-payment mark, the qualifying income was $57,618 and with a 20% down-payment, the income required to qualify for a mortgage was $51,216. The West led all regions with the highest qualifying income while the Midwest had the lowest income for 5%, 10% and 20% down payments on a single-family home.