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Affordability Challenges Hamper East, West Coasts

A new report by Realty Hop [1] found affordability is not common on the east and west coasts, as those markets dominated the top-5 least affordable areas in the nation. 

The report found Los Angeles, California, to be the least affordable metro in the nation, as it requires 91.4% of the homebuyers income to afford a home. Miami, Florida, was a close second at 87.8%, and was followed by New York, New York (85.3%), San Francisco, California (73.8%), and Oakland, California (68.1%). 

Los Angeles saw a 1.44% increase in its homeownership burden, and home prices jumped to an average of $899,000. Los Angeles is also home to the fifth-highest estimated mortgage payment of $4,151. 

San Francisco had both the highest average home price ($1.29 million) and the highest estimated mortgage payment of $5,921.

Detroit, Michigan, is still the most affordable metro in the nation, requiring just 13% of the homebuyers income to afford a home. Mortgage payments in Detroit are estimated at just $301.

Detroit was followed by Fort Wayne, Indiane (17%), Wichita, Kansas (18.3%), Cleveland, Ohio (19%), and Indianapolis, Indiana (21.6%). Fort Wayne, though, did see an increase of 6.5% in homeownership burden, as the average home price rose to $134,900.

Louisville, Kentucky, had the largest jump in the ranking and became less affordable, rising eight spots from No. 91 to No. 83, with homeowners needing 25.1% of their income to afford a home. The biggest rise in affordability was recorded by Arlington, Texas, who fell 13 spots to No. 67 after home prices fell to $229,000, and its homeownership burden decreased 5.4% from May. 

Unisom’s 2019 Home Affordability Report [2] found that it now takes 14 years for those making a median income to save for a 20% down payment on a median-price homes, meaning many prospective millennial homebuyers won’t achieve homeownership until their 40s.

The report states that the monthly payment needed to support a home purchase with a down payment of 20% grew by 12% between 2017 and 2018, far outpacing the growth of income during that period of 6%.

Unisom found that it takes prospective homebuyers in Los Angeles an average of 43 years to save the necessary 20% for a down payment on a median-priced home. Prospective homebuyers in Detroit have to wait just seven years, the shortest in the nation, to save the necessary 20%.