Homes Are Becoming Less Affordable

According to a report from ATTOM Data Solutions, median home prices in the first quarter of 2019 were not affordable for average wage earners in 335 of 473 U.S. counties analyzed in the report (71 percent).

The report determined affordability for average wage earners by calculating the amount of income needed to make monthly house payments — including mortgage, property taxes and insurance — on a median-priced home, assuming a 3 percent down payment and a 28 percent maximum “front-end” debt-to-income ratio. That required income was then compared to annualized average weekly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Featured Sponsors:

 


The 335 counties where a median-priced home in the first quarter was not affordable for average wage earners included Los Angeles County, California; Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; San Diego County, California; Orange County, California; and Miami-Dade County, Florida.The 138 counties (29 percent of the 473 counties analyzed in the report) where a median-priced home in the first quarter was still affordable for average wage earners included Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; Harris County (Houston), Texas; Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; and Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“We are seeing a housing market in flux across the United States, with a mix of tailwinds and headwinds that are pricing many people out of the housing market, but also are creating potentially better conditions for buyers,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. “Continually rising home prices in many areas do remain a financial stretch – or simply unaffordable – for a majority of households.


Featured Sponsors:

 


“However, quarterly wage gains have been outpacing prices increases for more than a year and mortgage rates are falling, which have helped make homes a bit more affordable now, than they’ve been in a year. Affordability may improve because of the simple fact that homes are out of reach for so many home seekers, suggesting that prices need to moderate up in order to attract buyers. Of course, a few quarters do not a long-term trend make. The economy could slow. The impact of last year’s tax cuts could fade, and interest rates could go back up, but the signs point to the possibility of an impending buyers’ market.”


Featured Sponsors: