- Home prices increased in 92% of the largest 177 metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the previous year.
- Incomes aren’t keeping up with home prices, making it more difficult for homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage in the most expensive markets.
- The salary needed to qualify in the top-five metro areas — four of which are located in California — exceeds $115,00.
US housing supply fell to an all-time low in the fourth quarter of 2017 and home prices continued to rise, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
By the end of December, there were 1.48 million existing homes available for sale — 10.3% less than were on the market the same time last year.
NAR reports that while the national median family income rose to $74,492, increasing mortgage rates and home prices are affecting Americans’ ability to buy a home, specifically in the country’s most expensive housing markets.
“A majority of the country saw an upswing in buyer interest at the end of last year, which ultimately ended up putting even more strain on inventory levels and prices,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
“Remarkably, home prices have risen a cumulative 48% since 2011, yet during this same timeframe, incomes are up only 15%,” Yun said. While price gains have been a boon for homeowners, it’s putting a strain on buyers and local markets that can’t keep up with demand.
Using NAR’s data on housing affordability, we gathered a list of the US metro areas where the minimum salary required to qualify for a mortgage, after a 20% down payment, is highest. NAR assumes a mortgage rate of 3.9% for all areas, with the monthly principle and interest payment limited to 25% of income.
Notably, the salary needed to qualify in the top-five metro areas — four of which are located in California — exceeds $115,000.
For the US as a whole, the average qualifying income is $46,808 and the median home price is $247,800 (though slightly down from the third quarter, it’s up 5.3% year-over-year).
Below, check out how much you need to earn to buy a home in the most expensive housing markets, and what the median home will cost you.