Low mortgage rates may be enticing new homebuyers, but Zillow reported Monday that not everyone is able to easily keep up with their payments. Zillow’s latest monthly analysis report found that mortgage payments are least affordable for low-income earners, who can expect to spend more than 30 percent of their paycheck on house payments and nearly 23 percent of their income on a mortgage payment in a third of large U.S. markets.
By comparison, middle and high income earners can expect to pay 15 to 11 percent on mortgages, respectively. For perspective, there are pre-crash numbers to consider. In 2007, low-income earners could expect to spend nearly 40 percent of their income on housing. By contrast, high earners barely broke 20 percent when they hit their peak expenditure ratios in 2006. History aside, the burden on lower earners in some states is exceeding. Low-income earners in most large California markets, for example, are effectively priced out of buying a home.
Encouraging news about consumer earnings could lead to more home sales in an already healthy growth market, even if the labor market is less certain. Data from the New York Fed on Monday showed that consumers’ earnings and income growth expectations rebounded while medium-term inflation expectations rose in June, but the trends in inflation and labor were more mixed. Consumer earning confidence, however, could signal a healthier housing market. Nationally, existing home sales are happening at a pace rivaling the pre-recession period.