Median-priced single-family homes were less affordable in three-quarters of US counties during Q4 2021 as home prices kept soaring.

Percentage of Counties Where Affordability Worsened Hit Highest Point Since Q3 2008

According to ATTOM’s Q4 2021 US Home Affordability Report just released, median-priced single-family homes were less affordable compared to historic averages in 77% of counties across the county.

This level of questionable affordability has not been as high in 13 years.  The reason?  Home prices continued to rise faster than wages throughout most of the country.

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(ATTOM calculates affordability for average wage earners by determining the amount of income required to meet major monthly homeownership expenses including mortgage, property taxes and insurance on a median-prices single-family home, assuming a 20% down payment and 28% maximum “front-end” debt-to-income ratio.)

Trend – Home Prices Manageable But Becoming Less Affordable

ATTOM calculated that the typical home consumed 25.1% of the average national wage of $65,546 during Q4 2021.

“The average wage earner can still afford the typical home across the United States, but the financial comfort zone continues shrinking as home prices keep soaring and mortgage rates tick upward,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM.

 Biggest Year-Over-Year Gains & Losses in Median Price in Q4 2021

Of the 43 counties with populations of at least 1M, these are the counties with the biggest median price gains y/y during Q4 2021:

  • Middlesex County (outside Boston) MA – +42%
  • Wake County (Raleigh) NC – +27%
  • Maricopa County (Phoenix) AZ – +26%
  • Hillsborough County (Tampa) FL – +26%
  • Clark County (Las Vegas) NV – +23%

Counties with populations of at least 1M where affordability has improved the most or declined the least included:

  • Wayne County (Detroit) MI – +11%
  • Cook County (Chicago) IL – +3%
  • Santa Clara County (San Jose) CA – -2%
  • Kings County (Brooklyn) NY – -4%
  • Montgomery County (outside Washington DC) MD – -4%

Counties with populations of at least 1M where median prices have decreased y/y or gone up the smallest during Q4 2021 included:

  • Wayne County (Detroit) MI – -12%
  • Cook County (Chicago) IL – -3%
  • Kings County (Brooklyn) NY – +2%
  • Dallas County TX – +5%
  • Contra Costa County (outside San Francisco) CA – +6%

Price Gains Outpace Wage Growth in Almost 80% of Housing Markets

The disparity in home price growth and weekly wage growth during Q4 2021 occurred in 78%, or 447 counties, of the 575 counties analyzed for this report.  The largest disparities in home price growth and weekly wage growth existed in Harris County TX, Maricopa County AZ, San Diego County CA, Orange County CA and Miami-Dade County FL.

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Counties with Worst Affordability Indexes during Q4 2021 y/y

  • Rankin County (Jackson) MS
  • Canyon County (outside Boise) ID
  • Rutherford County (Murfreesboro) TN
  • Gaston County (outside Charlotte) NC
  • Wayne County (outside Akron) OH

Thanks to ATTOM.



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