Housing

Cities Where the Most People Cannot Afford a New Home

Feverpitched / iStock via Getty Images

Homeownership has long been a cornerstone of the American Dream. But in the current housing market — defined by soaring property values and historically high mortgage rates — the prospect of buying a home is no longer realistic for millions of Americans.

The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has been over 6.5% for nearly a year, up from less than 3% as recently as October 2021. Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders estimates that the median price of a new home in the U.S. was $495,750 in March 2024, up over 16% from the previous year and nearly 44% higher than in January 2020, before the pandemic.

As they are, market conditions are stacked against buyers — particularly prospective first-time homeowners and those looking for a newly built home. According to a recent report from NAHB, a household would need to have an annual income of nearly $152,000 to be able to afford a new home and not spend more than 28% of their gross income on housing — including property taxes and assuming a 6.5% fixed mortgage rate. Based on this model, 103.5 million households — or 76.9% of all American households — would not be able to comfortably afford a new home.

Of course, both incomes and home prices vary considerably across the country. And while there are places where a new home is still affordable to large shares of the population, there are also many cities where the costs associated with owning a new home are prohibitive for nearly everyone.

Using data from NAHB, 24/7 Wall St. identified the U.S. cities where the most people cannot afford a new home. We reviewed data on over 400 metropolitan areas and ranked those where the largest share of the population do not earn enough to afford a new, median priced home. Metro areas with fewer than 100,000 households were excluded from analysis and some metro areas on this list may overlap with others. Supplemental data on median household income is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey. A full methodology is available in the NAHB’s March 2024 report.

Among the 45 metro areas on this list, the share of households who cannot afford a typical new home ranges from 87.4% to 94.1%. While the current housing affordability crisis has impacted much of the country, it appears to be especially pronounced in large, Western cities. Of the 45 metro areas on this list, 17 are in the West, including seven in California alone. Meanwhile, the Northeast and the South are each home to 12 cities on this list, while only four of the least affordable housing markets are in the Midwest. (Here is a look at the most affordable housing market in each state.)

In any given area, housing affordability is a product of two factors: income and home prices. Many cities on this list, particularly those along the East or West Coast, tend to have higher earning populations than cities in much of the rest of the country. In these places, however, a new, median priced home is also far more expensive than average. There are 15 cities on this list where most new homes are listed for over $750,000.

Conversely, there are also many cities on this list where the typical household earns far less than a typical American household. Even though new home prices tend to be lower than average in some of these places, few households have the necessary income to afford them. (Here are 11 essential tips for every first-time home buyer.)

Why It Matters

For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of New House.
Source: Feverpitched / iStock via Getty Images

Homeownership has historically been a reliable means of building wealth in the United States. However, recent increases in home values and borrowing costs have priced large segments of the population out of the market. The state of the housing market is not only impacting individuals and families, but also the broader economy. Residential investment accounts for as much as 5% of U.S. gross domestic product, and since mid-2020, the volume of new home sales in the U.S. has fallen by 33%.

45. Bremerton-Silverdale-Port Orchard, WA

Source: Ceri Breeze / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 87.4% (100,602 total)
  • Median new home price: $760,580
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $224,969
  • Median household income: $94,775

44. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Source: BruceBlock / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 87.6% (903,247 total)
  • Median new home price: $876,183
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $261,646
  • Median household income: $89,312

43. Asheville, NC

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 87.6% (176,510 total)
  • Median new home price: $656,069
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $191,033
  • Median household income: $66,023

42. Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, PA

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 87.7% (209,716 total)
  • Median new home price: $563,945
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $187,680
  • Median household income: $60,537

41. Kennewick-Richland, WA

Source: smodj / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 87.7% (99,995 total)
  • Median new home price: $759,380
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $226,345
  • Median household income: $82,961

40. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 87.7% (313,550 total)
  • Median new home price: $1,164,353
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $381,322
  • Median household income: $105,968

39. York-Hanover, PA

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 87.8% (170,894 total)
  • Median new home price: $542,516
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $179,201
  • Median household income: $80,130

38. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA

Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 87.8% (105,728 total)
  • Median new home price: $806,181
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $235,691
  • Median household income: $90,216

37. Visalia, CA

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.0% (125,276 total)
  • Median new home price: $572,325
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $168,134
  • Median household income: $64,722

36. Oklahoma City, OK

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.0% (509,194 total)
  • Median new home price: $563,481
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $181,473
  • Median household income: $66,301

35. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.0% (585,548 total)
  • Median new home price: $631,067
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $204,115
  • Median household income: $70,898

34. Eugene-Springfield, OR

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.0% (141,400 total)
  • Median new home price: $584,170
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $173,827
  • Median household income: $64,069

33. Bellingham, WA

Source: SEASTOCK / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.1% (88,341 total)
  • Median new home price: $679,288
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $198,576
  • Median household income: $79,220

32. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.2% (610,821 total)
  • Median new home price: $692,990
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $219,606
  • Median household income: $81,784

31. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, FL

Source: felixmizioznikov / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.2% (557,764 total)
  • Median new home price: $800,968
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $248,960
  • Median household income: N/A

30. El Paso, TX

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.4% (270,523 total)
  • Median new home price: $448,698
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $158,426
  • Median household income: $53,359

29. Stockton, CA

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.6% (214,604 total)
  • Median new home price: $781,037
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $229,968
  • Median household income: $86,056

28. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

Schenectady is a small City in Upstate New York on the Erie Canal
Source: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.6% (339,779 total)
  • Median new home price: $635,072
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $214,816
  • Median household income: $80,970

27. College Station-Bryan, TX

Source: TriciaDaniel / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.8% (116,352 total)
  • Median new home price: $444,164
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $147,869
  • Median household income: $60,804

26. Portland-South Portland, ME

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.9% (225,296 total)
  • Median new home price: $764,729
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $233,420
  • Median household income: $84,312

25. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 88.9% (271,927 total)
  • Median new home price: $554,573
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $169,534
  • Median household income: $65,889

24. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

Source: f11photo / iStock via Getty Images

  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 89.0% (430,993 total)
  • Median new home price: $587,334
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $182,918
  • Median household income: $61,602

23. Kalamazoo-Portage, MI

Source: RudyBalasko / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 89.0% (101,563 total)
  • Median new home price: $510,601
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $167,657
  • Median household income: $69,584

22. Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA

Source: benedek / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 89.1% (219,966 total)
  • Median new home price: $602,498
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $179,644
  • Median household income: $68,829

21. Bakersfield, CA

Source: MattGush / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 89.4% (254,340 total)
  • Median new home price: $572,207
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $172,448
  • Median household income: $66,234

20. Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater, WA

Source: John Callery / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 89.5% (108,604 total)
  • Median new home price: $581,842
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $173,648
  • Median household income: $88,853

19. Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI

Michigan | Detroit Aerial Panorama
Source: pawel.gaul / E+ via Getty Images

  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 89.5% (612,466 total)
  • Median new home price: $551,430
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $184,276
  • Median household income: N/A

18. Rochester, NY

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.0% (415,137 total)
  • Median new home price: $596,786
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $217,099
  • Median household income: $69,580

17. Springfield, MA

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.2% (254,200 total)
  • Median new home price: $627,481
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $204,718
  • Median household income: $68,400

16. Fresno, CA

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.2% (302,855 total)
  • Median new home price: $664,655
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $197,157
  • Median household income: $69,571

15. Tucson, AZ

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.3% (400,173 total)
  • Median new home price: $643,201
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $189,274
  • Median household income: $64,014

14. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.4% (144,534 total)
  • Median new home price: $508,698
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $156,074
  • Median household income: $52,775

13. Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL

Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Florida | Fort Walton Beach Florida 2022 Drone Aerial
Source: WanderDrone / iStock via Getty Images

  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.5% (121,813 total)
  • Median new home price: $778,786
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $232,313
  • Median household income: $76,945

12. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

Source: GabrielPevide / E+ via Getty Images

  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.6% (2,192,452 total)
  • Median new home price: $861,995
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $268,972
  • Median household income: $70,769

11. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL

  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.9% (235,069 total)
  • Median new home price: $621,238
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $188,786
  • Median household income: $75,320

10. Burlington-South Burlington, VT

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 90.9% (96,125 total)
  • Median new home price: $782,780
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $255,025
  • Median household income: $83,707

9. Wichita, KS

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 91.2% (235,550 total)
  • Median new home price: $549,032
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $183,529
  • Median household income: $67,012

8. Barnstable Town, MA

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 91.8% (103,111 total)
  • Median new home price: $1,369,501
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $405,991
  • Median household income: $91,438

7. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL

Source: Davel5957 / iStock via Getty Images

  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 92.3% (945,805 total)
  • Median new home price: $896,352
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $278,581
  • Median household income: N/A

6. Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY

Source: DenisTangneyJr / E+ via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 92.3% (469,530 total)
  • Median new home price: $674,076
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $231,238
  • Median household income: $68,698

5. Utica-Rome, NY

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 92.6% (124,600 total)
  • Median new home price: $577,400
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $201,775
  • Median household income: $64,203

4. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Source: GerardoBrucker / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 92.6% (638,330 total)
  • Median new home price: $1,685,593
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $487,774
  • Median household income: $148,900

3. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA

traditional victorian houses in San Francisco
Source: rarrarorro / iStock via Getty Images

  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 92.6% (595,391 total)
  • Median new home price: $1,507,874
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $436,801
  • Median household income: N/A

2. Salem, OR

Source: Sean Pavone / iStock via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 93.8% (157,563 total)
  • Median new home price: $718,733
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $214,618
  • Median household income: $72,150

1. Prescott Valley-Prescott, AZ

Source: Althom / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
  • Households unable to afford a new, median priced home: 94.1% (102,251 total)
  • Median new home price: $662,888
  • Income needed to afford a typical new home: $188,639
  • Median household income: $63,936

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