Top 10 U.S. Counties with Worst and Best Home Affordability

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With 74 percent of U.S. housing markets unaffordable for average wage earners to buy a median-priced home, where are the areas that are still affordable?

As cited in ATTOM Data Solutions’ just released Q3 2019 U.S. Home Affordability Report, the largest populated counties where a median-priced home in Q3 2019 was not affordable for average wage earners included Los Angeles County, CA; Cook County (Chicago), IL; Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ; San Diego County, CA and Orange County, CA. Those same counties were in the top five in Q2 2019 as well.

Rounding out the top 10 largest populated counties where a median-priced home in Q3 2019 was not affordable, were Miami-Dade County, FL; Kings County, NY; Dallas County, TX; Riverside County, CA; and Queens County, NY.

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.

Where is buying a home affordable?

According to ATTOM’s report, 26 percent of the counties analyzed, or 127 of 498, where a median-priced home in Q3 2019 was still affordable for average wage earners, included Harris County (Houston), TX; Wayne County (Detroit), MI; Philadelphia County, PA; Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), OH; and Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), PA.

The other counties included in the top 10 where buying a median-priced home was still affordable were Richmond City, VA; Jefferson County, TX; Milwaukee County, WI; Mecklenburg County, NC; and Fulton County, GA.

The report also showed that 67 percent of the counties analyzed in the report, or 335 of 498, require at least 30 percent of their annualized weekly wages to buy a home in Q3 2019. Those counties that required the greatest percent included Kings County (Brooklyn), NY (110.4 percent of annualized weekly wages needed to buy a home); Santa Cruz County, CA (105 percent); Marin County (San Francisco), CA (102.4 percent); Maui County, HI (87.9 percent); and Monterey County, CA (87.5 percent).

Also, 33 percent of the counties analyzed, or 163 of 498, required less than 30 percent of their annualized weekly wages to buy a home in Q3 2019. Those counties that required the smallest percent included Calhoun County (Battle Creek), MI (14.4 percent of annualized weekly wages needed to buy a home); Wayne County (Detroit), MI (14.9 percent); Clayton County (Atlanta), GA (15.2 percent); Rock Island County (Davenport), IL (15.5 percent); and Montgomery County, AL (16.2 percent).

Where does your area rank in home affordability? Contact ATTOM to find out!

 

Please contact us if you have questions about the underlying data referenced in this article, or would like to have access to that data in the form of custom reports, API, Bulk File or DaaS.

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