Homeownership now ‘unaffordable’ in these 57 counties: Study

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Homeownership now unaffordable in these 57 counties Study

(NEXSTAR) – Most of us know we can’t afford a home in Beverly Hills or Cape Cod, but it’s not just wealthy enclaves where the prospect of owning a home has grown out of reach.

As home prices have skyrocketed over the past few years, locals – who haven’t seen their wages skyrocket to match – are finding it harder and harder to enter the housing market.

Personal finance site MoneyGeek analyzed the rising cost of real estate in metro areas around the country and compared home appreciation between 2021 and 2023 to changes in income during the same time period. They compiled a list of 57 counties were homeownership has recently become unaffordable for the typical family.

New to the list are the exurbs of San Francisco and several Sacramento-area counties. People priced out of the core Bay Area have flocked to other Northern California locales, and now those places, like Placer, Solano and San Joaquin counties, are seeing home prices spike out of reach.

Further north along the West Coast, 10 counties in Oregon and Washington are facing the same problem. In Clackamas County, just outside Portland, home prices have grown 33% in two years, according to MoneyGeek’s analysis.

Another area seeing rapid growth and gentrification is Travis County, Texas, home to the state capital of Austin. MoneyGeek found home prices there rose by nearly 50% since 2021 to a new median price of $610,000.

For their analysis, MoneyGeek only looked at counties with populations larger than 250,000 that are experiencing population growth higher than the national average.

See the full list of 57 counties where the cost of owning a home has grown “unaffordable” below:

RankCountyMetro areaMedian household incomeMedian home priceHome price growth in last 2 years
1Placer County, CASacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA$105,445$740,06825.9%
2Norfolk County, MABoston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH$115,969$740,96734.0%
3Washoe County, NVReno, NV$80,125$568,84733.9%
4San Joaquin County, CAStockton-Lodi, CA$86,056$553,13329.7%
5Clackamas County, ORPortland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA$97,419$639,34933.4%
6Solano County, CAVallejo-Fairfield, CA$92,959$633,44227.6%
7Lane County, OREugene, OR$64,069$461,42140.5%
8Contra Costa County, CASan Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA$120,061$875,18340.7%
9Washington County, ORPortland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA$98,906$598,21325.8%
10Essex County, MABoston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH$92,413$650,95930.2%
11Sacramento County, CASacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA$84,211$550,42228.3%
12Larimer County, COFort Collins, CO$88,403$639,70944.0%
13Denver County, CODenver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO$88,213$681,24341.1%
14Marion County, ORSalem, OR$71,022$439,91937.6%
15Ada County, IDBoise City, ID$87,774$572,81242.1%
16Essex County, NJNew York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$74,994$543,64829.2%
17Travis County, TXAustin-Round Rock, TX$95,259$609,62549.9%
18Riverside County, CARiverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA$86,748$609,29942.8%
19Merced County, CAMerced, CA$66,164$430,76638.2%
20Plymouth County, MABoston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH$103,173$578,53535.9%
21Fresno County, CAFresno, CA$69,571$424,91534.2%
22Snohomish County, WASeattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$101,532$759,09047.9%
23Worcester County, MAWorcester, MA-CT$86,258$464,54136.7%
24Kitsap County, WABremerton-Silverdale, WA$94,775$565,13433.4%
25Salt Lake County, UTSalt Lake City, UT$91,924$588,71343.8%
26Spokane County, WASpokane-Spokane Valley, WA$69,070$470,27956.1%
27Arapahoe County, CODenver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO$93,784$605,75936.8%
28Dane County, WIMadison, WI$84,831$432,64338.7%
29Clark County, NVLas Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV$70,797$479,98841.8%
30Charleston County, SCCharleston-North Charleston, SC$80,401$557,57951.0%
31Utah County, UTProvo-Orem, UT$95,338$609,39849.8%
32Clark County, WAPortland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA$91,248$543,16535.0%
33Thurston County, WAOlympia-Tumwater, WA$88,853$533,15241.2%
34Fulton County, GAAtlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA$90,346$538,76538.3%
35Collier County, FLNaples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL$80,815$657,62363.8%
36Pierce County, WASeattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA$93,420$575,63946.4%
37Davidson County, TNNashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN$72,473$489,82954.7%
38El Paso County, COColorado Springs, CO$82,389$501,12838.1%
39Broward County, FLMiami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL$70,978$500,48052.9%
40Cumberland County, MEPortland-South Portland, ME$89,345$526,85257.7%
41Williamson County, TNNashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN$129,275$862,33361.9%
42Buncombe County, NCAsheville, NC$68,019$464,93556.0%
43Palm Beach County, FLMiami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL$76,592$524,91854.7%
44Alachua County, FLGainesville, FL$58,354$338,83442.8%
45Williamson County, TXAustin-Round Rock, TX$101,323$520,95354.6%
46Hays County, TXAustin-Round Rock, TX$88,617$464,99154.3%
47Manatee County, FLNorth Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL$72,108$476,59258.4%
48Canyon County, IDBoise City, ID$70,818$439,22660.3%
49St. Lucie County, FLPort St. Lucie, FL$62,705$397,52259.2%
50Orange County, FLOrlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL$72,324$445,50354.5%
51Maricopa County, AZPhoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ$83,747$516,44253.5%
52Sarasota County, FLNorth Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL$78,341$508,65867.1%
53Mecklenburg County, NCCharlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC$80,365$471,82358.6%
54Osceola County, FLOrlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL$63,271$396,31158.3%
55Lee County, FLCape Coral-Fort Myers, FL$71,072$440,05664.0%
56Durham County, NCDurham-Chapel Hill, NC$80,089$452,38171.4%
57Hillsborough County, FLTampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL$74,308$436,72360.3%

See more data on each of the 57 counties from MoneyGeek here.

One thing that’s made homeownership unrealistic for many the past two years has been climbing interest rates. However, housing economists expect that the average rate on a 30-year mortgage will decline this year. Don’t expect anything drastic — forecasts generally see it moving no lower than 6%.

Despite mostly falling since October 2023, the average rate on a 30-year home loan remains sharply higher than just two years ago, when it was 3.22%. That large gap between rates now and then has helped limit the number of previously occupied homes on the market by discouraging homeowners who locked in rock-bottom rates from selling.

“While lower mortgage rates are welcome news, potential homebuyers are still dealing with the dual challenges of low inventory and high home prices that continue to rise,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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