America’s housing affordability crisis reached another grim milestone in May.

According to Redfin, the median monthly housing payment reached $2,894 in the four weeks ending May 5. That marks a 14% year-over-year gain, driven by higher home prices and mortgage rates.

Housing payments include mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and other related fees.

“The market is a mixed bag, with high mortgage rates causing some listings to sit longer than I would expect in the springtime and high prices holding steady,” said David Palmer, a Redfin Premier agent.

Nevertheless, Palmer said sellers can expect buyers to keep knocking on their door.

He said the typical profile of a motivated buyer is “people who are moving because they need to,” such as “relocating for a new job, going through a divorce, or growing their family.”

A buyer would certainly need to be motivated to enter the housing market in the current interest-rate environment. According to Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages eclipsed 7% in the final week of May.

Meanwhile, the typical U.S. home is selling for between $420,000 and $513,000, which is well beyond the means of many first-time buyers.

A difficult market for first-timers

The combination of high prices, elevated mortgage rates, and low supply makes current housing conditions extremely hostile to first-time buyers.

“First-time buyers continue to struggle to enter the housing market, lacking the housing equity that boosts the purchasing power of repeat buyers,” said NAR’s deputy chief economist, Jessica Lautz.

Making matters worse, the typical first-time buyer is only able to make a 6% down payment on a home, compared to 17% for a repeat buyer.

A 6% down payment on a $420,000 home translates to a monthly housing payment of nearly $3,400, based on Zillow’s mortgage payment calculator. That's out of reach for a typical household earning just under $75,000 a year.

Research from JPMorgan suggests that housing conditions will remain challenging for at least three years. After that, JPMorgan predicts that rising wages and housing supply will restore affordability.

But that outlook is banking on the premise that mortgage rates will fall back by then.

“Our analysis of the timing is notably sensitive to mortgage rates. If the market’s pricing of mortgage rates were to fall by just one percentage point, U.S. homes could be affordable again in just two years,” wrote Joe Seydl, JPMorgan’s senior markets economist.