U.S. Department of Commerce

Housing Affordability

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What kind of data is found in "Who Can Afford to Buy a House"?
  2. How did you collect data for the report?
  3. Can I get housing affordability data for my city?
  4. Can I get affordability data for 1997?
  5. Can you tell me how many people can afford to buy a house if they lower the closing costs or interest rates go up?

What kind of data is found in "Who Can Afford to Buy a House"?  

The "Who Can Afford to Buy a House?" report includes data on the ability of families and individuals to qualify for the purchase of a home using either conventional financing or FHA-insured financing. The data are tabulated for several different priced houses, by age, race, sex, family type, income, and reasons why they could not afford to buy a home.


How did you collect data for the report?  

Data is collected from both current property owners and renters about their income sources, their financial and property assets, and their liabilities. The data comes from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The survey does not ask whether the household plans to buy a home; the report uses the data to determine whether they could afford to buy a house based on the data collected in SIPP.


Can I get housing affordability data for my city?  

The SIPP is a national survey, designed to describe household financial data for the entire country only. There are enough cases in the survey to tabulate the four Census regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West); the nine Census Divisions; and by inside and outside metro areas and in central cities or not in central cities.


Can I get affordability data for 1997?  

The SIPP modules for household financial data is collected only every other year. We have tabulated affordability data for 1984, 1988, and 1991, 1993, and 1995. The next time this report may be available will be for data from 1997. There is about a two year lag between the time the data is collected and the report on affordability is tabulated.


Can you tell me how many people can afford to buy a house if they lower the closing costs or interest rates go up?  

The report includes data on the effect of changes in interest rates, down payment subsidies, and changes in required down payment for both conventional and FHA-insured loans. The data is presented such that you can see the effects on different types of families if any of these aspects of the home buying process are modified.



Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Housing Affordability |  Last Revised: 2012-08-29T08:40:52.427-04:00