Housing

People Need $400,000 Income To Buy a House in This City.

The residential real estate market was on fire for two years. According to the carefully followed S&P Case Shiller home price index, in most months in this period, prices rose by 20% year over year. In some large cities, the figure was closer to 30%. The surge was partially driven by 3% mortgage rates. Those have risen to 6%, which has cooled the market considerably. However, some housing markets remain so expensive that the average American could never afford a home there. The list is topped by San Francisco, where home buyers need over $400,000 in income to buy a median-priced home. This is more than four times the national number.

The real estate research company Redfin recently issued a study titled, “Homebuyers Need $107,000 Annually to Afford the Typical U.S. Home–Up 46% From a Year Ago.” Part of the reason is a sharp increase in mortgage rates. Another is that wages in most markets have not kept pace with house prices. Washington, D.C. Redfin agent Chelsea Traylor, commented, “High rates are making buyers rethink their priorities, as many of them can no longer afford the home they want in the location they want.”

The study took the median price of a home in each market and measured it against the annual median income for October. The calculation was based on the assumption that people paid no more than 30% of their incomes to own a home. The precise national figure was $107,281 in income to own a house, up 45.6% in a year. The jump is extraordinarily large.

San Francisco has been among the most expensive home markets in the U.S. for years. Much of this is driven by tech company salaries that are higher than those of almost any other industry. The precise figure people need to own a home in the metro is $402,281. The next most expensive market is just a few miles away. The income needed in San Jose is $363,265. The income yardstick in San Francisco is up 33.6% from October last year. The San Jose number rose by 36.1%.

The least expensive market is in one of America’s old industrial cities, which has lost population for decades. The income figure for Detroit is $48,435. The city has so many problems, people are not likely to move there, even to get affordable housing.

While home prices may fall in the months ahead, in San Francisco, they will remain out of reach for almost everyone.

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