Since last total eclipse, DC-area home prices have risen … astronomically

WASHINGTON — It has been 38 years since the last total solar eclipse crossed parts of the Northwest United States, and the cost of homeownership back then was considerably less.

The National Association of Realtors dug into its records, and says, in 1979, the median selling price of a single-family home nationwide was $55,700. Nationally, it is now $255,600.

The jump in prices since the last total eclipse that covered parts of the U.S. in 1979 is even more significant in the Washington area.

NAR data say the median price of a single-family home in the Washington region in 1979 was $76,300.

Today, the median price of a single-family home in metro Washington is $428,700 — a 462 percent increase over the last 38 years.

NAR also notes prices in various cities along the path of totality of this eclipse, ranging from $165,400 in Columbia, South Carolina, to $261,400 in Salem, Oregon.

Home prices may have been a whole lot cheaper back then, but mortgage rates were a whole lot higher.

According to Freddie Mac data, the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in 1979 was as high as 12.9 percent. As of last week, a 30-year mortgage averaged 3.89 percent.

That means the monthly payment on a $56,000 house in 1979 was $615. The monthly payment on a $256,000 mortgage today would be $1,063, less than twice an average house payment four decades ago.

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