Housing affordability; US housing is still a relative bargain for its residents

“Good” news for renters and single-family property owners

Cheer up, the US is still the land of opportunity

Many observers may think American residential real estate prices are out of control, but when we compare domestic home prices to the rest of the world, house values here in the United States are relatively dirt cheap. If you think it’s nearly impossible for many people to climb up the property ladder, just ask other people around the world what they think when they price their local homes in their local currencies and with their buying power based on local wages.

According to the most up to date information from Numbeo regarding home prices, the United States still offers its residents the biggest bang for the buck when compared to their household incomes. In fact, the nationwide price/household income multiple for the US stands at 4.1x, which according to Numbeo, is by far the lowest when compared to all other developed nations. For instance, in Indianapolis, IN, the typical mortgage payment equals 13.9% of the mean household income. While the media focus on all the unaffordable places, we should keep things in perspective.

For a more granular view from within the U.S., look at the expanded table immediately below, which ranks 93 American cities by price to household income ratios. There are a few dozen cities in this list that still offer prospective home buyers and investors with plenty of opportunities to buy. With rents relentlessly rising, it still makes sense for people in many areas of the country to purchase rather than rent.

(Click column headers to sort)

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3 thoughts on “Housing affordability; US housing is still a relative bargain for its residents

  1. Of course, the country and economy is transforming and collapsing as we speak, but it truly depends on who you ask. The asset owners are gradually separating from the synagogue’s monetary and fiscal victims. I know I am….

    Arizona city to allow workers to sleep in their cars as it grapples with housing costs


    An Arizona city has approved a program that would allow homeless workers to sleep in their cars amid skyrocketing housing prices, outraging residents, according to a report.

    The Sedona City Council voted 6-1 to approve The Safe Place to Park program this week, which includes 40 designated parking spots for those employed full-time within the city limits with temporary bathrooms and showers on site, AZCentral reported.

    “I don’t think there’s anybody up here or staff that are extremely proud of this. This is a last-ditch effort,” Mayor Scott Jablow said during a contentious, 7-hour meeting Tuesday where local residents spoke out against the program. “No one’s really proud because this isn’t really the answer. It’s one of many answers.”

    Those enrolled in the program are required to be engaged with local social services with the ultimate goal of securing permanent housing, according to the outlet.

    Detractors say that the site will lead to pollution, drug use and other illegal activities, negatively impacting the park and local area.

    Safe Place to Park is funded through a two-year grant from the Arizona Department of Housing. The site will be managed by the Verde Valley Homeless Coalition, who will be responsible for monitoring the lot from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily.

    Vehicles must leave the premises during daytime hours.

    The lot is located in a 6-acre parking lot in Sedona’s 41-acre Cultural Park on land the city purchased for $23 million last year, according to AZCentral. The area will not be visible to any residents in the area.

    City officials emphasized the program is only temporary and will conclude in 2026 when the two-year grant funding runs out. The land will also be rezoned in June 2026.

    The program comes after a year of planning as the city searched for a solution on how to house city workers while waiting for a number of affordable housing projects to be completed.

    Supporters say the move will help those who would otherwise be illegally sleeping in their cars or city streets.

    “If we don’t do this now, then there’s never going to be a time for us to do this,” said council member Melissa Dunn.

    “We can wait two years until we have housing, but those people will be living on the street in their cars, will be living in the forest with unsafe conditions,” she added.

  2. In a shift, 44% of all single-family home purchases were by private investors in 2023 – Washington Times

    In a striking shift in the residential property market, private equity firms have been carving out an increasingly substantial share of single-family home purchases, raising concern about the potential consequences for housing affordability and market competitiveness.

    Recent data reveals that in the third quarter of 2023, the involvement of these financial entities in buying up single-family homes reached 44%, far outpacing independent buyers, Medium reports. The surge in activity marks a significant departure from traditional real estate dynamics and ushers in a new era of institutional investment.

    The practice has not only raised eyebrows but also fears, as the growing footprint of private equity raises critical questions about its role in raising real estate prices and potentially sidelining individual homebuyers.

    A narrative is emerging that squarely places the blame for the astronomical rental and housing prices, especially in 2020-21, on “institutional investors” — a category that includes private equity firms and hedge funds. Critics argue that their competitive edge in acquisitions could be fueling the affordability crisis.

    Amid the housing predicament, some see the expansion of private equity as opportunistic. The National Multifamily Housing Council, a group representing landlord interests, has analyzed census data and presented findings that 38% of multifamily unit owners in 2021 were individuals, while investors snapped up 24% of single-family homes in the same time frame.

    Historically, investment firms and financial institutions had their sights set on multifamily properties such as apartments, leaving single-family homes largely to individual buyers. The aftermath of the 2009 recession, however, witnessed a turning tide, as low property prices and correspondingly low interest rates created a ripe environment for these investors to expand their portfolios into what was once considered nontraditional territory.

    Over the subsequent decade, the percentage of single-family homes being bought by investors grew incrementally, from 10% to 15% annually. This data, compiled by CoreLogic and reported by Pew Trust, underscores the significant shift taking place in private homeownership.

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