Median home prices in the third quarter were not affordable for average wage earners in approximately three-quarters of the nation’s housing markets, according to new statistics released by ATTOM Data Solutions.
The new study found 371 of 498 counties analyzed, or 74 percent, had housing markets that were not accessible for average wage earners. The top five markets in the third quarter where affordability was absent–California’s Los Angeles County, Illinois’ Cook County (Chicago), Arizona’s Maricopa County (Phoenix), and California’s San Diego County and Orange County–where the same counties were in the top five in the second quarter.
On the flip side, the most affordable counties were Texas’ Harris County (Houston), Michigan’s Wayne County (Detroit), Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia County, and Ohio’s Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) and Allegany County (Columbus).
"Buying a home continues to be a rough road to navigate for the average wage earner in the United States. Prices are going up substantially faster than earnings in 2019 without any immediate end in sight, which continues to make home ownership difficult or impossible for a majority of single-income households and even for many families with two incomes," said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions. "If there is any silver lining to the picture, it's that mortgage rates have fallen back to historic lows. That's softening the blow of rising prices and actually making home ownership a bit more attainable in most areas of the country."
Zillow recently reported that the typical homebuyer spends in excess of four months shopping for the perfect place, touring an average of more than four homes, attending two open houses and making two offers, in addition to hours spent browsing online listings, when searching for their home.