The pandemic has propelled Houston’s housing market to new heights as home prices hit record highs earlier this year. Now that the dust has settled with the housing boom behind us, the pace of home price appreciation is slowing significantly — but not fast enough to make buying a home affordable for most Houstonians.

According to a new report of the Houston Realtors Association.

While that’s slightly better than the previous quarter, it’s still significantly worse than a year ago, when 53% of households could afford a median-priced home in the area. And before the pandemic two years ago, 59% of Houston households could afford to buy a median-priced home in the area.

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The minimum household income needed to buy a home in the Houston area currently stands at around $90,000 per year. Last year, a household earning around $62,000 could afford an affordable home in the area. That means a Houston-area household would need to earn 41.5% more income annually than it did a year ago to buy a typical home in the area.

To break this down into what it means for consumers’ monthly bills, take a look at a typical monthly payment. In the third quarter of 2021, a buyer buying a home at the median price could expect to pay around $1,590 per month if they took out a typical 30-year fixed rate loan, including taxes and insurance, to buy a home at median price in Houston. , according to HAR. A year later, a buyer could have expected to pay around $2,250 a month, assuming they could get a mortgage rate of 5.62% last quarter. (It should be noted that the rates are now above 7 percentNevertheless.)

Of course, there are pockets of Houston that are still relatively affordable. In Harris County, the Aldine area was the most affordable: there, 49% of Harris County households earned the minimum annual income of $68,400 to afford a median-priced home in the Harris County area. ‘Aldin. Stafford, Conroe, Angleton and La Marque were also the most affordable areas in their respective counties of Fort Bend, Montgomery, Brazoria and Galveston.

Meanwhile, Memorial Villages and West University Place were the least affordable in Harris County, with only 3% of Harris County households able to afford the home at the median price in the communities. Buying a median-priced home in the Memorial Villages required the highest minimum household income of $480,400, according to HAR.

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In Montgomery Country, The Woodlands was the least affordable with about 27% of households earning the minimum annual income of $156,800 to buy a median-priced home in the area, according to HAR.

Although higher mortgage rates and affordability continues to be a challenge, there is now less competition in the housing market, which could help some buyers. The slowdown in sales should help slow the pace of price growth, although most real estate agents do not expect home prices to return to pre-pandemic levels.

“Homebuyers have had to navigate an overheated market over the past year, but conditions have cooled to pre-pandemic levels in recent months,” HAR President Jennifer Wauhob told Better Homes and Gardens. Gary Greene in a statement. “We’ve seen home sales slow, prices stabilize and inventory rise. These are all indicators that we are moving closer to more normal, pre-pandemic conditions, and this should create more options and opportunities for consumers.