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Zillow: You Need To Make $106,000 To 'Comfortably Afford' To Buy A Home

WRE News March 5, 2024


Zillow: You Need To Make $106,000 To 'Comfortably Afford' To Buy A Home

What a difference four years makes – a new data analysis from Zillow (NASDAQ:Z, ZG) found today’s home buyers need to make more than $106,000 to “comfortably afford” a residential property purchase. That sum is 80% more than the money required for the same purchase in pre-Covid January 2020.

Back in 2020, according to Zillow, a household earning $59,000 annually could “comfortably” afford the monthly mortgage on a typical home by spending no more than 30% of its income with a 10% down payment. That was below the median income of about $66,000, which meant more than half of American households had the financial means to afford homeownership.

Fast forward to today and the $106,500 in question is above the estimated $81,000 earned annually by the typical U.S. household.

And lest we forget, the monthly mortgage payment on a typical home has nearly doubled since January 2020, up 96.4% to $2,188 (assuming a 10% down payment) while home values soared by 42.4% during the four years to today’s price tag of $343,000. Of course, mortgage rates ended January 2020 near 3.5% – at last check, they were around 6.6%.

“Housing costs have soared over the past four years as drastic hikes in home prices, mortgage rates and rent growth far outpaced wage gains,” said Orphe Divounguy, a senior economist at Zillow. “Buyers are getting creative to make a purchase pencil out, and long-distance movers are targeting less expensive and less competitive metros. Mortgage rates easing down has helped some, but the key to improving affordability long term is to build more homes.”

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