This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Monthly Home Prices Are on the Rise

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Are higher monthly mortgage payments a good or bad trend for the economy?

Its probably bad, but either way, rising home payments are increasingly a fact of life for new homeowners, as house payments for U.S. homebuyers rose by 21% in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The hike in monthly payments is forged from two separate real estate trends -- rising median prices and higher interest rates, reports RealtyTrac, the Irvine, Calif., housing data provider.

The firm says that, in the last quarter of 2013, median home prices rose by 10% and interest rates rose by 33%, on average, in 325 counties.

The monthly payment hike covers the full gamut of homeownership expenses for an average three-bedroom home -- data reached by combining mortgage, insurance, taxes and maintenance and by subtracting the estimated income tax benefit, RealtyTrac reports.

So that 21% figure is surprisingly high, especially as higher home prices significantly outpace household incomes, which are virtually stagnant.

"A potent combination of rapidly rising home prices and the often-overlooked but significant uptick in interest rates in the second half of 2013 caused the monthly cost of owning a home using traditional financing to jump substantially in many markets over the last year," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

"The monthly cost of owning a home is still less than renting in the majority of markets, but the cost of financed homeownership is becoming dangerously disconnected with still-stagnant median incomes, driven not by shoddy underwriting practices this time around but by investors and other cash buyers who are not tethered to the typical affordability constraints," he adds.

In real-world terms, that means millions of Americans may soon be priced out of the ability to buy a home, which could stop the recent growth in the nations real estate market in its tracks.

"One simply needs to look at the minimum income needed to qualify for a median-priced home in some markets to realize the extent of the disconnect between prices and incomes," Blomquist says. "For example, in Los Angeles County, the minimum qualifying income needed to purchase a median-priced home is at more than $95,000, up from about $68,000 just a year ago."

Its not just California, which historically has set the tone for much of the nations real estate market. Other states are feeling the income/price hike pinch too.

"Home price appreciation continues to climb in the Oklahoma housing market, and that restricts people from purchasing their dream home," says Sheldon Detrick, chief executive at Prudential Detrick/Alliance Realty, which covers the Tulsa and Oklahoma City markets. He says the American Dream of homeownership is alive, but buyers may have to aim lower to get into a home.

For the record, California, Nevada and Michigan saw the biggest run-up in monthly mortgage payment costs -- all saw rises of more than 40% in select counties.

Like Detrick says, the price of the American Dream just keeps going up, and dramatically so in recent months. And that is a disturbing trend for a real estate market that was just getting back on its feet.

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs