Buyers can't afford a median-priced home basically anywhere

Median home prices are out of range for average wage earners in 353 US counties, according to a new study

The average earner can’t afford a median-priced home in 74 percent of all American counties, according to a new analysis by Attom Data Solutions, released Thursday.

Median home prices are out of range for average wage earners in 353 of the 480 counties Attom Data Solutions analyzed, with Los Angeles County in California, Cook County in Illinois and Maricopa County in Arizona boasting some of the most disproportionate home prices in the country.

As of 2016, more than 3,100 counties and county-equivalents, like parishes and boroughs, are recognized in the 50 states and District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Despite falling mortgage rates and rising wages, the cost of owning the typical home remains out of reach, or a significant financial stretch, for the nation’s average wage earners,” said Attom Data Solutions Chief Product Officer Todd Teta in a prepared statement.

Overall, housing affordability remains a major concern — 40 percent, or 192 of the 480 counties analyzed, saw home prices outpace average weekly wage growth. Meanwhile, 67 percent of markets require buyers to put down more than 30 percent of their weekly wages on their home while 61 percent of markets are less affordable than their historic averages.

In Marin County, where San Francisco produces some of the most disproportionate home prices in the country, buyers need to spend 116.8 percent of annualized weekly wages to buy a home, which means that even those earning above-average salaries can’t afford to buy.

Nonetheless, there are signs the housing market is bouncing back. Eighty-two percent of markets report better housing affordability than they did a year ago. Meanwhile, Harris County in Houston, Wayne County in Detroit and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania include median homes that are the most proportionate to its residents’ wages.

“A closer look at the data reveals milder-than-usual increases for the spring, and none as severe as in previous years since the recession,” Teta said. “Therefore, this can help indicate the market may be easing, following similar indicators from recent home-flipping and foreclosure data trends.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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