At 2.07 million units, housing inventory is at its sixth-lowest level in 30 years, according to Capital Economics. Low inventory has helped with rising home prices. And even though prices have been rising, affordability remains high.

The NAR's Housing Affordability Index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home based on the most recent monthly price and income data.

We've read many predictions that high affordability will persist indefinitely. LPS Applied Analytics, for one, believes home values could rise an additional 35% before affordability becomes an issue.

We're a little more circumspect. Bank of America recently revised its expectations for home prices, expecting prices at the national level to rise 8% in 2013. A few months ago, Bank of America was forecasting a 4.7% increase.

Given rising interest in single-family homes, we don't think Bank of America's expectations are unreasonable. Home prices could very well rise 8%, but it's highly unlikely personal income will rise at the same rate. At the same time, mortgage rates will also rise with more job creation, which will make mortgages more expensive.

The point we want to emphasis is that, yes, homes are still very affordable, but there is no guarantee they will remain so. In fact, it's financially risky to expect the market that exists today – in both houses and mortgages – to exist tomorrow

  Courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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