Gee Janet – I wonder whose fault that is.

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A Redfin report confirms the grim reality: home prices have surged nearly 5% year over year across every major U.S. city, while mortgage rates approach 8%. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s testimony underscores the dire situation, describing it as “almost impossible” for first-time buyers to enter the housing market amidst this lethal combination of factors.

Key points:

  • Rising home prices and escalating mortgage rates create a daunting scenario for first-time homebuyers, driving the median monthly housing payment to a record $2,890, a staggering 15% increase year over year.
  • Yellen highlights the “lock-in effect,” where current homeowners hesitate to sell their homes due to fears of losing low mortgage rates, exacerbating the shortage of available properties.
  • President Biden’s proposed housing tax credits aim to alleviate the lock-in effect, offering incentives for both first-time buyers and existing homeowners looking to sell their starter homes.
  • Despite these efforts, with median home prices nearing $383,188, many potential buyers remain priced out of the market.
  • Affordability challenges extend beyond mortgage payments, as the median down payment for a median-priced home of $383,000 would require $76,000 upfront, a daunting sum for many Americans.
  • Increasingly, first-time buyers resort to side hustles or unconventional methods, such as wedding registries, to save for down payments, highlighting the extent of the affordability crisis.
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