Where Home Prices Are Outpacing Wage Growth—and Where They’re Not

A small model house surrounded by stacks of quarters, pennies, and other coins

© CHRISsadowski - Getty Images

The median home prices of single-family homes and condos in the second quarter was less affordable than historical averages in 61% of U.S. counties, according to a second-quarter report from ATTOM Data Solutions. That is the highest level in two years as home price increases continue to race ahead of wages in the majority of the country.

Homeownership costs have comprised about 25.2% of the average national wage of $63,986 in the second quarter, according to ATTOM Data Solutions. That figure is up nearly 23% from the first quarter and is at the highest point since the third quarter of 2008. Still, economists note that percentage remains within the 28% standard that most lenders say they prefer for how much homeowners should spend on mortgage payments, home insurance, and property taxes.

Areas where homeownership is consuming less than 28% of average local wages in the second quarter included:

  • Wayne County (Detroit), Mich.: 10.7%
  • Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), Ohio: 12.9%
  • Philadelphia County, Pa.: 18.1%
  • Harris County (Houston), Texas: 20.2%
  • Franklin County (Columbus), Ohio: 21%

On the other hand, the following areas are where homeownership is accounting for the highest percentage of average annualized local wages in the second quarter:

  • Kings County (Brooklyn), N.Y.: 100.8% of annualized weekly wages needed to buy a home
  • Queens County, N.Y.: 68.7%
  • Nassau County, N.Y. (outside New York City): 63%
  • Orange County, Calif. (outside Los Angeles): 59.2%
  • Alameda County (Oakland), Calif.: 54%

Further, home price appreciation is outpacing annual wage growth in 72% of the counties ATTOM researchers tracked.

A bar chart comparing the growth in home prices vs. wage growth in various U.S. counties.