The demand for housing has been outpacing supply since early 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors, putting upward pressure on home prices and creating affordability challenges for potential homebuyers already badgered by tight inventory. However, consumer conditions vary geographically, meaning some states provide less stressful home-buying environments than others.
As house values grow, home purchasing power isn't just measured by how high or low prices are in a given area. Factors including local incomes and mortgage rates also help determine how much house someone can afford.
Real house prices, based not only on median home values but changes in incomes and rates, increased 2.3% both year-over-year and month-over-month in January, according to First American Financial.
But, some states are seeing healthy wage growth that's offsetting rising rates and prices. As a result, real house prices are declining and purchasing power is going up.
Mortgage lenders in states like Arizona can benefit from gains in homebuyer purchasing power, with real home prices falling nearly 5% in the state. In contrast, buyer conditions in New York present less than favorable circumstances for lenders, as real home prices shot up almost 9%, the greatest year-over-year increase of any state.
From Arizona to Vermont, here's a look at the 12 states where home purchasing power is going up. The house buying power amount reflects how much a typical buyer in that state can afford to pay for a home.
The data, from the First American Real House Price Index, measures home price changes, taking local wages and mortgage rates into account "to better reflect consumers' purchasing power and capture the true cost of housing." The January 2018 data is ranked by year-over-year change in RHPI value, where a reading of 100 is equal to conditions in January 2000.