Veterans gearing up to grab a nicely priced home might want to set their sights on Virginia Beach, Virginia, according to a recent Redfin report, which identified the most affordable U.S. metros for that cohort. In Virginia Beach, 38.1 percent of for-sale houses fall into the affordable category. Memphis marches in next at 36.3 percent, Indianapolis stakes out position No. 3 at 26 percent, and Louisville, Kentucky, nets the fourth most-affordable post with 25.3 percent of marketed abodes there at prices that are viable for vets, Redfin says.
Sunny news aside, the study also uncovered a sobering statistic. Of the 600,000-plus residential properties currently listed for sale in the nation’s most populated metropolitan areas, a mere 8.9 percent are affordable for someone earning the local median veteran income. That’s down from 27.4 percent in 2012, the company reports. Since then, house prices have swelled by 55.3 percent in those metros. Veterans’ median incomes, by stark contrast, have grown by a scant 1.6 percent from 2012 to 2016. All of the analyzed markets posted a drop in their share of listings affordable to veterans in the past six years, Redfin notes.
By the way, the least affordable market on Redfin’s list: San Jose, California, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and Phoenix.
As for female veterans, the housing situation is even more challenging for them, with just 6.2 percent of currently listed residences across the 45 metros selling at prices they can afford, compared to 9.1 percent for male vets.
Historically, the affordability of VA loans has been a primary reason why the homeownership rate among vets has been higher than for the general populace, says Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson. That trend, however, might be doing an about-face, she notes.
“Homeownership among active-duty military declined significantly during the housing crisis and remains at historic lows. Veteran homebuyers are battling affordability as the fast pace, high prices, and low inventory in today’s market make it hard to compete with all-cash buyers,” Richardson said. “U.S. housing policy should continue to ensure that the people who serve our country also have the opportunity to invest in our country through homeownership.”