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Home Price Gains Outpace Median Income in Major Cities

homebuyers confidenceThere Are 2,080 work hours in a year, assuming a standard 40-hour work week, and depending on your job, your earnings may vary widely. But according to Zillow, if you owned a home last year in a major metropolitan Area, there is a good chance that your home earned more than you did. 

According to a new study from Zillow, which monitored the top 38 metropolitan areas for home value growth between December 2020-December 2021, home values increased more than the median wages for the area in 25 of the 38 metros. In 11 of the 38 metros, home values increased by over $100,000 over the course of a single year. 

The research from Zillow is also novel due to the fact that it compares home growth values to the median income for the area and the profession that made an income closest to the amount of growth seen over the year giving the term “household income” a brand-new meaning. 

As a whole, Zillow said 2021 was a “banner year” as the average home earned more than a middle-income earner in most areas across the country.  

For the entirety of the U.S. the average home gained $52,667 while the average median income was found to be $50,000, roughly what a director of religious activities and education would earn per annum. The occupational income data used in this report comes from the May 2020 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Naturally, already expensive areas such as California and Hawaii Saw their home growth increase the most with Los Angeles seeing $131,979 of home value growth against a median wage of $50,000. This is roughly equal to what a judge or magistrate would make. 

An average homeowner in Honolulu, Hawaii, realized $138,254 in gains last year compared to a median income of $51,000, equal to a salary of a specialty operations manager. 

And the list goes on: Dallas Saw home values increase $69,488, equaling a salary of a human resource specialist. Denver? $108,922 of growth equals an electrical engineer. Charlotte, North Carolina? $71,804 equals a Commercial diver. San Jose, California? $229,277 equals an oral surgeon. 

But not all news is good news. The report also found the gap between owners and renters is now a growing desert as homeowners saw their wealth grow hand-over-fist, while renters, straddled with growing rent prices, have Seen the dream of homeownership slip through their fingers. 

On average, rents generally rose 16% (or $3,000) over the course of the survey, while some locations saw rents rise over 25%. This is a major hit to renters' household budgets because that money cannot be saved toward a down payment for a home. 

There was more bad news for first-time homebuyers, as down payments—which is seen as the largest hurdle new buyers must overcome—rose by more than $10,000, mirroring the rise in home prices. Down payments rose by $14,500 in Miami; $16,700 in Las Vegas; and $20,600 in Phoenix. 

Click here to see a full copy of the report, which includes data for the top 38 metropolitan areas. 

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle Horst
Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at [email protected].

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