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There is a clear, deep disparity between earnings and home prices—so much so that buying a home is an improbability for more individuals now than it has been in recent years, according to new research.

The bar is higher for homebuyers today, according to an analysis by Zillow. In 2017, the average buyer earned more than 62.7 percent of all households, the analysis shows; in 2012, that figure was 59.8 percent. Additionally, the amount of buyers who earned $100,000 has expanded to 38 percent, while the amount of buyers who earned $50,000 or less has fallen to 28 percent. Five years prior, those numbers, in order, were 30 percent and 36 percent.

Compared to the earnings of existing homeowners and renters, homebuyers’ incomes are leapfrogging the others. The average buyer income is $79,900, according to the analysis, while the average homeowner income is $75,000, and the average renter’s is $38,300.

The gap between home prices and incomes, overall, is three times’ wide. From Census data, in the five years between 2012 and 2017, incomes increased 11 percent, while home prices rose 36 percent.

Three-and-a-half million more households have been preempted from purchasing as a result, the analysis shows.

“Home prices have outpaced incomes for nearly a decade, pushing homeownership further and further out of reach for first-time buyers even as homeownership aspirations remain very high,” says Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow.

With homeownership a vehicle for wealth, any barriers to entry foster greater inequality, according to Terrazas.

“In the past, low interest rates, lax lending and migration from pricier to more affordable communities have helped square that circle—but those palliatives break down sooner or later,” Terrazas says. “If becoming a homeowner trends further toward the exclusive domain of society’s most fortunate, wealth inequality could see an acceleration in the years ahead.”

Here’s how the $100K club has grown by market:

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.  

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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