As the spring housing season gets underway, economists are taking note of extremes between mortgage affordability in different real estate markets.
A new survey from realtor.com predicts that Detroit will be the most affordable and San Francisco the least affordable market this year. The online real estate services provider released the results of its first-ever Mortgage Affordability Report today, pulling data from the largest 25 housing markets in the country.
Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages in Detroit are forecasted to require 13.2 percent of medium income, which is way below the mortgage qualification threshold of 28 percent. The predicted rent-to-income ratio is higher at 26 percent, according to the survey.
Other markets ranked by lowest 2015 predicted mortgage-to-income ratio are St. Louis; Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In contrast, the same type of mortgage in San Francisco requires 72 percent of income, which is more than double the 28 percent income threshold, the survey found.
Other markets with high mortgage-to-income ratios are San Diego, Los Angeles, New York and Miami.
“Over the last 10 years, we have seen marketplace gyrations ranging from bubble to burst to recovery to stabilization, and we are now seeing a market of extremes on the affordability front,” said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com. “Buyers — especially first-time homebuyers — might feel more motivated as the overall market continues to improve, and this report provides potential buyers with local insight that is both informative and instructive.”
The report also found that renters in the five least affordable markets spent a high percentage of their income on rent in 2014 and will again in 2015, although rent is not expected to grow as fast as incomes in each market. San Francisco again topped the list of rankings, with the highest forecasted rent-to-income ratio, 40.9 percent.
Realtor.com is operated by Move Inc., a subsidiary of News Corp.