Since 2011, the median U.S. home price increased about 30 percent, while incomes grew only 11 percent, according to Bankrate’s analysis of data from the National Association of Home Builders / Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.
Since 1971, after factoring in inflation, the price of the average home is up 118 percent, but incomes have gained a meager 15 percent, a separate report by online brokerage Clever Real Estate found after studying census bureau data.
The cost of housing should take no more than 30 percent of gross income, economists and financial advisors often say.
Using that guideline, to afford a median-priced U.S. home now, a household would need an income of $144,192, more than double the median household income of $69,178, Clever calculated.
While some advisors say a home’s purchase price should not exceed 2.5 times a household’s annual income, in today’s frantic market a house now sells for an average of 5.4 times more than a typical buyer’s gross income, according to Bloomberg.
Of America’s 50 most populous cities, only Birmingham, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis showed a cost-to-income ratio of 2.6 or below, Bloomberg found.
The highest ratios were in Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Jose, and San Francisco, with ratios as high as 9.8.
TRENDPOST: Because home equity and retirement savings make up most of household wealth in the U.S., today’s housing market denies many families the prospect of building wealth, a dangerous trend we have noted in such articles as “Investors Now Targeting Off-Campus Student Housing” (14 Sep 2021) and “Blackstone Extends Reach Into Housing Market” (29 Jun 2021).