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Home Prices Outpace Salaries

Salaries are having a hard time keeping pace with home prices, even as prices continue to decline in many metro areas across the country.

Utilizing the the National Association of Realtors’ Q3 2017 data for median-home prices, national mortgage rate data derived from weekly surveys by Freddie Mac and the MBA for 30-year fixed rate mortgages and available property tax and homeowners insurance costs, HSH.com recently released a report on the affordability of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs).

According to the data, affordability remains a major issue even though the median price of homes sold in Q3 2017—compared to Q2 2017—was actually lower in 29 of the 50 markets reviewed.

In fact, for salaries to keep up with rising prices, year-over-year income gains needed to be at a 10 percent increase in about one third of all metros—and more than 9 percent in another nine.

Virgina Beach MSA experienced the lowest quarter-to-quarter costs at -6.63 percent, Following suit is Nashville at -5.71 percent, and San Francisco at -5.26 percent. According to the report, this reflects increased sales of lower cost homes in those markets during the period compared to Q2.

Although most markets were reportedly less expensive on a quarter-to-quarter basis, the data reports that is not the case when reviewing median costs in the Q3 of this year versus the Q3 2016, where a year-over-year decline was seen in just 1 metro area—Hartford, Connecticut—with a decline of -1.04 percent.

Meanwhile, 34 of the 50 markets experienced annual gains of over 5 percent. The most expensive market the data found was the San Jose MSA, at a 16.5 percent annual rise in the median price, followed by Seattle, at an increase of 13.36 percent, and Los Angeles, with an increased 10.06 percent.

Overall wage gains continue to be suppressed, rising at an estimated 2.5 percent annual rate. The report notes that “the ability of a potential homebuyer to keep up is increasingly difficult, if not impossible.”

In the end, the report says, “somewhat lower mortgage rates during the period helped to improve affordability, but we may not be able to count on this offset much as we move into the Q4 2017 and beyond.”

To view the full report, click here.

About Author: Nicole Casperson

Nicole Casperson is the Associate Editor of DS News and MReport. She graduated from Texas Tech University where she received her M.A. in Mass Communications and her B.A. in Journalism. Casperson previously worked as a graduate teaching instructor at Texas Tech's College of Media and Communications. Her thesis will be published by the International Communication Association this fall. To contact Casperson, e-mail: nicole.casperson@thefivestar.com.
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