Special Report

America's 25 Least Affordable Housing Markets

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Housing affordability in the United States is getting worse, with some experts even calling it a crisis. According to a new housing report, median home prices in the first quarter of 2019 were not affordable for average wage earners in over 70% of the nation’s largest counties.

The report, published by real estate market database ATTOM Data Solutions, found that nearly half of the nation’s major housing markets are less affordable than their historic averages. While that is an improvement from over three-quarters as of the last quarter of 2018, it still is far from ideal for the people in those places seeking to buy a home.

Nationwide, the current income needed to buy a typical home exceeds $60,000, well above the incomes of the majority of American households.

Click here to see America’s 25 least affordable housing markets

To determine the 25 least affordable housing markets in the United States, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed county-level data from ATTOM Data Solutions’ Q1 2019 U.S. Home Affordability Report. Counties were ranked based on the affordability ratio — median housing prices in the area relative to average annual wages. Home sale price data and the total number of housing units also came from ATTOM. The income needed to buy a house is calculated by assuming a 3% down payment and a 28% maximum “front-end” debt-to-income ratio.

Unlike the most affordable housing markets in the country, which are spread all across the country, almost all of the counties on this list are in New York state or California, which are home to many of the 25 metropolitan areas where residents struggle to afford their homes.

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25. Bronx County, New York
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 12.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $125,670
> Avg. annual wages: $54,418
> Q1 median sales price: $445,000
> Housing units: 524,488

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24. Nassau County, New York
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 12.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $150,591
> Avg. annual wages: $62,270
> Q4 median sales price: $510,000
> Housing units: 471,031

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23. Riverside County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 12.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $104,462
> Avg. annual wages: $45,071
> Q4 median sales price: $370,000
> Housing units: 826,704

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22. Placer County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 12.0%
> Income needed to buy a house: $123,384
> Avg. annual wages: $55,536
> Q4 median sales price: $462,000
> Housing units: 159,667

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21. San Diego County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 11.3%
> Income needed to buy a house: $143,102
> Avg. annual wages: $61,269
> Q4 median sales price: $540,250
> Housing units: 1,195,868

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20. El Dorado County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 11.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $119,028
> Avg. annual wages: $49,699
> Q4 median sales price: $444,750
> Housing units: 89,286

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19. Los Angeles County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 11.0%
> Income needed to buy a house: $155,727
> Avg. annual wages: $64,350
> Q4 median sales price: $585,000
> Housing units: 3,506,903

Source: Matthew Trump / Wikimedia Commons

18. Richmond County, New York
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 10.5%
> Income needed to buy a house: $132,669
> Avg. annual wages: $51,337
> Q4 median sales price: $490,000
> Housing units: 179,179

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17. Alameda County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 10.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $193,409
> Avg. annual wages: $75,556
> Q4 median sales price: $738,500
> Housing units: 596,898

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16. Santa Barbara County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 10.1%
> Income needed to buy a house: $143,137
> Avg. annual wages: $53,846
> Q4 median sales price: $535,000
> Housing units: 155,339

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15. San Mateo County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 10.0%
> Income needed to buy a house: $325,420
> Avg. annual wages: $125,580
> Q4 median sales price: $1,250,000
> Housing units: 275,109

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14. Napa County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 9.8%
> Income needed to buy a house: $147,487
> Avg. annual wages: $55,276
> Q4 median sales price: $562,500
> Housing units: 55,456

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13. Ventura County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 9.7%
> Income needed to buy a house: $151,656
> Avg. annual wages: $55,211
> Q4 median sales price: $571,000
> Housing units: 285,997

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12. San Francisco County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 9.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $334,727
> Avg. annual wages: $115,466
> Q4 median sales price: $1,250,000
> Housing units: 390,376

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11. Orange County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 9.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $184,022
> Avg. annual wages: $62,478
> Q4 median sales price: $677,000
> Housing units: 1,081,701

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10. Honolulu County, Hawaii
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 9.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $148,894
> Avg. annual wages: $52,455
> Q4 median sales price: $573,246
> Housing units: 346,374

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9. Sonoma County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 9.1%
> Income needed to buy a house: $156,249
> Avg. annual wages: $53,677
> Q4 median sales price: $591,000
> Housing units: 207,908

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8. Monterey County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 8.9%
> Income needed to buy a house: $144,726
> Avg. annual wages: $47,736
> Q4 median sales price: $538,750
> Housing units: 140,548

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7. Queens County, New York
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 8.7%
> Income needed to buy a house: $169,514
> Avg. annual wages: $55,068
> Q4 median sales price: $630,000
> Housing units: 850,422

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6. San Luis Obispo County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 8.5%
> Income needed to buy a house: $148,744
> Avg. annual wages: $47,684
> Q4 median sales price: $560,000
> Housing units: 120,182

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5. Marin County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 7.3%
> Income needed to buy a house: $270,710
> Avg. annual wages: $73,554
> Q4 median sales price: $1,010,000
> Housing units: 112,606

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4. Maui County, Hawaii
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 7.2%
> Income needed to buy a house: $162,717
> Avg. annual wages: $45,266
> Q4 median sales price: $627,969
> Housing units: 72,093

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3. New York County, New York
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 6.7%
> Income needed to buy a house: $511,003
> Avg. annual wages: $124,462
> Q4 median sales price: $1,862,500
> Housing units: 872,645

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2. Santa Cruz County, California
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 6.6%
> Income needed to buy a house: $208,178
> Avg. annual wages: $51,077
> Q4 median sales price: $770,000
> Housing units: 105,586

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1. Kings County, New York
> Annual wages as pct. of median sales price: 6.3%
> Income needed to buy a house: $197,830
> Avg. annual wages: $47,788
> Q4 median sales price: $760,000
> Housing units: 1,028,383

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