More than half the homes currently on the market in seven major American metros are currently unaffordable for local residents, and one-third of homes for sale are unaffordable by historic standards.
That’s the conclusion from a Zillow analysis of income, mortgage and home value data in the fourth quarter of 2013, which puts to question the regular industry claim that housing is more affordable than ever because of the current price and interest rate levels coming out of the housing crash.
“As affordability worsens, we’re already beginning to see more of the kinds of worrisome trends we saw en masse during the years leading up to the housing crash. These include a greater reliance on non-traditional home financing, smaller down payments and a greater pressure to move further away from urban job centers in order to find affordable housing options,” said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries. “We’re not in a bubble yet, but we’re beginning to see the early signs of one in some areas.”
Zillow calculated affordability by analyzing the current percentage of an area’s median income needed to afford the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home, and comparing it to the share of income needed to afford a median-priced home in the pre-bubble years between 1985 and 2000.
More than half of homes currently listed for sale in Miami (62.4%), Los Angeles (57.2%), San Diego (55.3%), San Francisco (55.2%), Denver (52.8%), San Jose (50.9%) and Portland, Ore. (50.3%) are unaffordable by historical standards.