Buying a home is more affordable than renting one in 66 percent of housing markets in the U.S., with Cook County, Ill., Maricopa County, Ariz. and Miami-Dade County, Fla. among those with the highest buy affordability, according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2017 Rental Affordability Report. Renting a home, to compare, is more affordable than buying one in 34 percent of markets, with Dallas County, Texas, Kings County, N.Y. and Santa Clara County, Calif. among those with the highest rent affordability.
Predominantly impacting affordability are stagnant wages, which have lagged at a growth rate of 2.2 percent since one year ago, compared to home prices, up 5.7 percent, and rents, up 4.2 percent.
Rising mortgage rates, according to ATTOM Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist, could deal another blow to affordability. Average rates, which retreated since charging forward following the election, are currently above 4 percent.
“While buying continues to be more affordable than renting in the majority of U.S. markets, that equation could change quickly if mortgage rates keep rising in 2017,” says Blomquist. “In that scenario, renters who have not yet made the leap to homeownership will find it even more difficult to make that leap this year. Additionally, renting may end up being the lesser of two housing affordability evils in a growing number of high-priced markets.”
Home price growth outpaced wage growth in 79 percent of the counties analyzed in the report, while rent growth outpaced wage growth in 62 percent. Both percentages include Harris County, Texas, and Los Angeles County and San Diego County, Calif. Wage growth, however, outpaced home price growth in 21 percent of the counties analyzed, and outpaced rent growth in 38 percent.
A monthly house payment on a median-priced home will require 36.6 percent of average wages, according to the report; a monthly fair market rent will require 38.6 percent.
The most affordable rental markets in 2017, based on the percentage of average wages needed to pay fair market rent, are:
- Madison County, Ala. (23.9 percent)
- Allegheny County, Pa. (24.4 percent)
- Fulton County, Ga. (24.8 percent)
- Anderson County, Tenn. (25.1 percent)
- Rock Island County, Ill. (25.3 percent)
The least affordable rental markets in 2017:
- Marin County, Calif. (77.3 percent)
- Spotsylvania County, Va. (73.7 percent)
- Monroe County, Fla. (72.2 percent)
- Honolulu County, Hawaii (70.7 percent)
- Maui County, Hawaii (70.6 percent)
Source: ATTOM Data Solutions
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