The subprime mortgage crisis that began in 2006 ushered in the Great Recession and the global financial crisis. It also taught an important lesson: while homeownership may be the cornerstone of the American dream, it should not be achieved or pushed at any cost.
One’s ability to afford a home depends to a great extent on where they live. Today, the median American home value is $217,600, or 3.6 times the median annual household income of $60,336. Nationwide, real estate values vary considerably across the country, and in some states, owning a home is far less expensive than in others.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed median home value from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey to determine what a typical home costs in every state. Median home values vary from less than $120,000 in some states to more than four times that amount.
Overall cost of living tends to be higher in states with the most expensive homes. In all 10 of the states with the lowest median home value, goods and services cost at least 10% less than they do on average nationwide. Similarly, goods and services are more expensive than average in eight of the 10 states with the highest median home value.
Higher home values and higher costs of living generally reflect higher incomes. The correlation, however, is not perfect, and the state with the highest median home value is not the wealthiest state in America.
Additionally, while those living in states with higher real estate values are more likely to have higher incomes, they are also more likely to borrow more to finance their home. Eight of the 10 states with the highest median home value also rank among the 10 states with the most mortgage debt.
To determine how much it costs to buy a home in each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2017 median home value from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. In cases where two states had the same median home value, we used median home value per square foot as a tiebreaker based on May, 2019, data from Zillow, a real estate data company. Historic median home prices, homeownership rates, median annual household income, and price changes are also from the ACS.