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Median-Priced Homes Not Affordable for Average Wage Earners in 74 Percent of U.S. Housing Markets

Home Prices Outpacing Wages in 40 percent of U.S. Housing Markets; Home Prices Less Affordable Than Historic Average in 61 Percent of Local Markets

IRVINE, Calif. - June 27, 2019 -- ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation's premier property database and first property data provider of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), today released its Q2 2019 U.S. Home Affordability Report, which shows that median home prices in the second quarter of 2019 were not affordable for average wage earners in 353 of 480 U.S. counties analyzed in the report (74 percent).

The largest populated counties where a median-priced home in the second quarter of 2019 was not affordable for average wage earners included Los Angeles County, California; Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; San Diego County, California; and Orange County, California.

The 127 counties (26 percent of the 480 counties analyzed in the report) where a median-priced home in the second quarter of 2019 was still affordable for average wage earners included Harris County (Houston), Texas; Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio; and Franklin County (Columbus), Ohio.

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 (see full methodology below).

View Q2 2019 U.S. Home Affordability Heat Map

"Despite falling mortgage rates and rising wages, the cost of owning the typical home remains out of reach or a significant financial stretch for the nation's average wage earners," said Todd Teta, chief product office with ATTOM Data Solutions. "However, a closer look at the data reveals milder-than-usual increases for the Spring, and none as severe as in previous years since the recession. Therefore, this can help indicate the market may be easing, following similar indicators from recent home-flipping and foreclosure data trends."

Home price appreciation outpacing wage growth in 40 percent of markets

Home price appreciation outpaced average weekly wage growth in 192 of the 480 counties analyzed in the report (40 percent), including Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; Riverside County, California; San Bernardino County (Riverside), California; Tarrant County (Dallas-Fort Worth), Texas; and Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan.

Average weekly wage growth outpaced home price appreciation in 288 of the 480 counties analyzed in the report (60 percent), including Miami County, Florida; Kings County, New York; Dallas County, Texas; Queens County, New York; and Clark County, New York.

67 percent of markets require over 30 percent of wages to buy a home

Among the 480 counties analyzed in the report, 323 (67 percent) require at least 30 percent of their annualized weekly wages to buy a home in the second quarter of 2019. Those counties that required the greatest percent included Marin County (San Francisco), California (116.8 percent of annualized weekly wages needed to buy a home); Kings County, New York (113.4 percent); Santa Cruz County, California (112.3 percent); San Luis Obispo County, California (91.4 percent); and Maui County, Hawaii (88.2 percent).

A total of 157 of the 480 counties analyzed in the report (33 percent) required less than 30 percent of their annualized weekly wages to buy a home in the second quarter of 2019. Those counties that required the smallest percent included Bibb County (Macon), Georgia (12.9 percent of annualized weekly wages needed to buy a home); Wayne County (Detroit), Michigan (13.2 percent); Baltimore City, Maryland (13.6 percent); Rock Island County (Davenport), Illinois (14.9 percent); and Allen County (Lima), Ohio (14.9 percent).

61 percent of markets less affordable than historic averages

Among the 480 counties analyzed in the report, 292 (61 percent) were less affordable than their historic affordability averages in the second quarter of 2019, up from 50 percent of counties in the previous quarter but down from 74 percent of counties in the second quarter of 2018.

Counties that were less affordable than their historic affordability averages included Los Angeles County, California; Harris County (Houston), Texas; Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; San Diego County, California; and Orange County, California.

39 percent of markets more affordable than historic averages

Among the 480 counties analyzed in the report, 188 (39 percent) were more affordable than their historic affordability averages in the second quarter of 2019, including Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; and New York County, Suffolk County, Bronx and Nassau County – all in the New York metro area.

Counties with the highest affordability index were Warren County (Allentown), New Jersey (158); Litchfield (Torrington), Connecticut (139); Cumberland (Vineland), New Jersey (139); Mercer County (Trenton), New Jersey (137); and Atlantic County (Atlantic City), New Jersey (134).

82 percent of markets post better affordability compared to year ago

A total of 393 of the 480 counties analyzed in the report (82 percent) posted a year-over-year increase in the affordability index, meaning that home prices were more affordable than a year ago, including Los Angeles County, California; Cook County (Chicago), Illinois; Harris County (Houston), Texas; Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona; and San Diego County, California.

A total of 87 of the 480 counties analyzed in the report (18 percent) posted a year-over-year decrease in their affordability index, meaning that home prices were less affordable than a year ago, including Sale Lake County, Utah; Saint Louis County, Missouri; Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana; Middlesex County, New Jersey; and Jackson County (Kansas City), Missouri.

About ATTOM Data Solutions

ATTOM Data SolutionsATTOM Data Solutions provides premium property data to power products that improve transparency, innovation, efficiency and disruption in a data-driven economy. ATTOM multi-sources property tax, deed, mortgage, foreclosure, environmental risk, natural hazard, and neighborhood data for more than 155 million U.S. residential and commercial properties covering 99 percent of the nation's population. A rigorous data management process involving more than 20 steps validates, standardizes and enhances the data collected by ATTOM, assigning each property record with a persistent, unique ID — the ATTOM ID. The 9TB ATTOM Data Warehouse fuels innovation in many industries including mortgage, real estate, insurance, marketing, government and more through flexible data delivery solutions that include bulk file licenses, APIs, market trends, marketing lists, match & append and introducing the first property data deliver solution, a cloud-based data platform that streamlines data management – Data-as-a-Service (DaaS).