Income required to buy a home nearly 50% higher than a year ago.
The annual income required to afford the $2,682 monthly mortgage payment on a typical US home has jumped 45.6% from a year ago, according to a new report by Redfin, with households now needing to earn $107,281 to buy a home.Redfin said the increase was due to mortgage rates climbing to record highs in 2022, combined with “persistently high” home prices. Over that same period, the average hourly wage in the US grew by only 5% as inflation cut into household budgets.
“High rates are making buyers rethink their priorities, as many of them can no longer afford the home they want in the location they want,” said Chelsea Traylor, a Redfin agent in Washington, DC. “If you had a $900,000 budget a few months ago, rising rates mean it’s now around $700,000 - and sellers aren’t dropping their prices enough to make up for the change. So, buyers are searching further away from the city in more affordable areas or waiting for prices and/or rates to come down before making a move.”
In 39 of the 93 metropolitan areas included in Redfin’s report, buyers would need at least 50% more income than they did a year ago to afford a home. They would also need to make at least $100,000 annually in 45 of these areas.
The majority of the metros where the income required to buy a home increased are located in the Sun Belt, as these destinations have long been popular for their relative affordability and warm weather. The increases were especially significant in Florida, with buyers in North Port needing to earn $131,535 annually to afford the typical monthly mortgage payment of $3,288 in the area. This was 73.9% more than last year’s figures, representing the biggest percentage increase of any major metropolitan area. Miami’s income requirements also grew 63.7% to $128,892, as well as Tampa ($101,682, up 62.4%) and Cape Coral ($104,943, up 60.6%).
The smallest uptick in required income was seen around Chicago and the Bay Area, where increases hovered at around 30%. Lake County, IL had the smallest gain in income at 33.5%. In San Francisco, homebuyers would need to earn 33.6% for the typical monthly payment of $10,071. This was followed by San Jose ($363,265, up 36.1%) and Oakland ($247,559, up 36.2%). Redfin said these areas were among the few places in the US where home prices have been falling year-over-year.
“I’m encouraging buyers to think long term,” said Traylor. “Prices are unlikely to fall drastically in the long run, so buying a home now - if you can afford the monthly payment - will still help you build wealth over time, especially if you plan to live in it for several years. Even though rates are high, another advantage of buying now is the lack of competition and opportunity to negotiate with sellers.”
Detroit had the lowest income requirement for a median-priced home at $48,435, up 42.3% from last year. This was followed by Dayton, OH ($51,126, up 46.1%), Cleveland ($53,817, up 45.7%), Rochester, NY ($56,508, up 56.2%) and Pittsburgh ($57,853, up 41.7%).