In most of the country, Americans can’t afford to be homeowners.
CBS reported that Americans don’t have the resources to buy a home in more than 70% of the country. Out of the 473 counties studied in this report, 335 of the counties had median home prices above what the average wage earner could afford.
ATTOM Data Solutions found the same trend in counties like Los Angeles and San Diego in California and Maricopa County in Arizona.
In New York City, wage earners need to provide the highest percentage of their income to buy a home. On average, salaried Americans needed to spend about 33% of their income to buy a home, those living in Brooklyn and Manhattan needed to drop more than 115% of their income. In San Francisco, wage earners would have to spend 103% of the income to buy a house.
On the other hand, ZeroHedge reports that urban centers like Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia tended to be the most affordable.
Housing affordability is an interesting topic. Some of the more affordable housing markets tend to lie in the Sunbelt, which makes sense. These areas have not replicated the federal government’s anti-growth policies like income taxation, massive bureaucracies, and restrictive unionization.
However, the key factor in this equation is the housing supply, which restrictive land-use regulations constrain. As a result, many housing markets are simply out of reach for the average American.
Sadly, the current political climate favors solutions like rent control and universal basic income. While well-intentioned, these solutions create another host of unintended consequences, and frankly, don’t address the underlying problem of housing affordability.
If Americans want more affordable housing, they must be willing to confront the land-use regulation beast head on.