Housing Affordability

SourceUniversity of Washington: Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies
Data TableHousing Affordability
ExplanationThe Housing Affordability Index (HAI) tracks the ability of a middle income family to carry the mortgage payments on a median-price home. An index of 100 reflects a balance between the family’s ability to pay and the mortgage payment. Higher indices indicate that housing is more affordable.

Thurston County’s HAI was 123.5 for the first quarter of 2020, a decrease in housing affordability for the fifth year in a row.

Thurston County:
  • Remains more affordable than the counties associated with the Seattle/Tacoma/Everett metropolitan area (King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish).
  • Has become slightly more affordable than Lewis County over the last two years.
  • Remains less affordable than adjacent counties to the west (Grays Harbor and Mason).
Since 2014, the HAI for first-time homebuyers in Thurston County has been considered unaffordable, and affordability continues to decrease.  Thurston County’s HAI for first-time buyers was 90.4 in 2020 - a significant improvement over 2019 when the HAI was just 59.9 for first-time buyers.

First-time Buyer Housing Affordability Index

The first-time buyer index assumes the purchaser’s income is 70% of the median household income. Homes purchased by first-time buyers are 85% of area’s median price. All loans are assumed to be 30 year loans with 25% of income used for principal and interest payments. The first-time buyer index assumes 10% down.


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