Make your home page

Minimum income needed to buy median-priced home hit record high, brokerage says

Wednesday business headlines

(WISH) — A homebuyer must earn nearly $115,000 to afford a median-priced home in the United States, according to Redfin.

That’s up 15% from a year ago and up more than 50% since the start of the pandemic in 2020, according to the online real estate brokerage.

The latest minimum in annual income that’s necessary to afford a home ranks as the highest on record, Redfin says.

Chen Zhao, economics research leader for Redfin, said in a statement issued Tuesday, “In a homebuyer’s ideal world, rising mortgage rates would push demand and home prices down enough to make up for high interest payments. But that’s not what’s happening now: Although new listings are ticking up slightly, inventory is still near record lows as homeowners hang onto their low mortgage rates — and that’s propping up prices. Buyers — particularly first-timers who are committed to getting into a home now — should think outside the box. Consider a condo or townhouse, which are less expensive than a single-family home, and/or consider moving to a more affordable part of the country, or a more affordable suburb.”

Redfin said housing costs are higher than ever because of the “one-two punch of sky-high mortgage rates and rising home prices.”

CNN reported Thursday that home loan borrowing costs climbed for the fifth consecutive week, following recent jobs and inflation reports that surged past forecasts and set expectations that decades-high interest rates could stay higher for longer.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 7.57% in the week ending Oct. 12, up from 7.49% a week earlier, according to data from Freddie Mac. A year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate was 6.92%. The last time rates were this high was in December 2000.

Also, buyers also are finding a low inventory of homes for sale is causing prices to increase.

Redfin says the typical U.S. home sold for about $420,000 in August, up 3% year over year and just about $12,000 shy of the all-time high hit in mid-2022.

From Redfin’s report: 

  • The typical U.S. homebuyer’s monthly mortgage payment is $2,866, an all-time high. 
  • The typical American household earns about $40,000 less than the income needed to buy a median-priced home.
  • Affordability is less of a problem for all-cash and move-up buyers.
  • Buyers need to earn more in every major metro city.