NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In a week the Federal Reserve reiterated its goals for the economy -- "maximum employment and 2% inflation," homebuyers are picking over a thin inventory of homes, with a sharp eye on value.
The Fed says it will keep interest rates low for the foreseeable future, and that should help homebuyers, who need low interest rates to keep prices as low as possible for their springtime house hunt. (The 30-year fixed home mortgage rate is 4.31%, according to the BankingMyWay Mortgage Rate Tracker.)
As far as home affordability goes, midpriced homes are the best value plays for buyers, according to Clear Capital, a Truckee, Calif., real estate analysis firm.
Clear Capital's Home Data Index shows the best home-buying value doesn't lie anymore in low-tier homes (priced at less than $95,000), but instead are in midtier homes (in the $95,000 to $300,000 range).
It takes a little math, but Clear Capital makes a compelling point. During the aftermath of the economic fallout of 2008-09, buyers turned to less expensive homes. But that led to a solid rebound in the lower end of the market, where average prices across the U.S. are now 21.5% lower than peak value.
Overall, the sale of lower-priced homes have risen by 32.6% since 2011, leading to an opening in the midrange home market where prices are lower on a relative basis, clocking in at 30.6% below peak sales, Clear Capital says.