Housing Wealth Gains for the Rising Middle-class Markets

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Cover of the Housing Wealth Gains for the Rising Middle-class Markets report

Homeownership is the primary source of wealth creation among families and results in many economic and societal benefits. Housing wealth is mainly built by price appreciation gains. Over the past 30 years, single-family existing-home sales prices have increased at an annual pace of 4.3% as of 2021 Q4, with home prices accelerating at a faster annual pace of 8.3% over the past 10 years. Due to strong price growth, homeowners are reaping large wealth gains from homeownership. As of 2021 Q4, at the national level, a homeowner who purchased a typical single family existing home 10 years ago at the median sales price of $162,600 is likely to have accumulated $229,400 in housing wealth, of which 86% came from price appreciation.

This study looks at the distribution of housing wealth between 2010 and 2020 across income groups and in 917 metropolitan or micropolitan areas. For this study, NAR identified "middle income" households as those with income of over 80% to 200% of the area median income. NAR identified rising middle-income class housing markets as markets that had the largest increase in the number of middle-class owner occupied housing units in 2020 compared to 2010.