26 most expensive counties for US homebuyers

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In recent years, the increasing cost of real estate has made it difficult for many locals to afford homes in their communities. MoneyGeek analyzed changes in homeownership costs, home price appreciation and median incomes from 2019 to 2022 to reveal 26 counties in the U.S. where the housing market is no longer affordable.

To find our list of recently unaffordable counties, MoneyGeek narrowed down counties with populations larger than 250,000 that had population growth above the national average. The analysis examined three factors in these counties: home price appreciation since 2019, the ratio of homeownership costs to rent and homeownership costs as a percentage of median income.

Image Credit: AaronAmat / iStock.

26. Clark County, Washington

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  • Metro Area: Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington
  • Median Income: $41,096
  • Median Home Price: $430,970
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,360
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 69%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 26%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.6

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

25. Buncombe County, North Carolina

  • Metro Area: Asheville
  • Median Income: $31,927
  • Median Home Price: $315,927
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $1,644
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 62%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 40.40%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.4

Image Credit: Warren LeMay / Flickr.

24. Maricopa County, Arizona

  • Metro Area: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale
  • Median Income: $36,856
  • Median Home Price: $365,197
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $1,876
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 61%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 42.70%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.4

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

23. Collin County, Texas

  • Metro Area: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
  • Median Income: $50,681
  • Median Home Price: $403,500
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,520
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 60%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 27.00%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.8

Image Credit: asiantiger247 / istockphoto.

22. Marion County, Oregon

  • Metro Area: Salem
  • Median Income: $31,677
  • Median Home Price: $341,919
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $1,910
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 72%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 25.70%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.7

Image Credit: thyegn / iStock.

21. Jefferson County, Colorado

  • Metro Area: Denver-Aurora-Lakewood
  • Median Income: $47,438
  • Median Home Price: $536,759
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,730
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 69%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 32.10%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.6

Image Credit: arinahabich / istockphoto.

20. Thurston County, Washington

  • Metro Area: Olympia-Tumwater
  • Median Income: $40,028
  • Median Home Price: $408,162
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,256
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 68%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 28.90%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.8

Image Credit: John Callery / iStock.

19. Charleston County, South Carolina

  • Metro Area: Charleston-North Charleston
  • Median Income: $41,782
  • Median Home Price: $396,168
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $1,988
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 57%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 52.50%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.4

Image Credit: istockphoto.

18. Sarasota County, Florida

  • Metro Area: North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton
  • Median Income: $31,933
  • Median Home Price: $325,911
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $1,737
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 65%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 54.70%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.3

Image Credit: Ebyabe / Flickr.

17. Pierce County, Washington

  • Metro Area: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
  • Median Income: $41,269
  • Median Home Price: $425,613
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,392
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 70%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 36.50%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.6

Image Credit: Ben Babusis, www.BenBabusis.com / istockphoto.

16. Clark County, Nevada

  • Metro Area: Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise
  • Median Income: $35,145
  • Median Home Price: $358,832
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $1,855
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 63%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 47.60%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.5

Image Credit: littleny / istockphoto.

15. Merced County, California

  • Metro Area: Merced
  • Median Income: $30,889
  • Median Home Price: $329,284
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $1,729
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 67%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 44.70%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.5

Image Credit: Publichall.

14. Snohomish County, Washington

  • Metro Area: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
  • Median Income: $46,920
  • Median Home Price: $555,495
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $3,020
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 77%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 37.70%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.6

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

13. Spokane County, Washington

  • Metro Area: Spokane-Spokane Valley
  • Median Income: $33,812
  • Median Home Price: $328,400
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $1,834
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 65%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 38.60%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.8

Image Credit: ChrisBoswell / istockphoto.

12. Sacramento County, California

  • Metro Area: Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade
  • Median Income: $39,434
  • Median Home Price: $459,373
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,436
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 74%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 40.80%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.6

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

11. St. Johns County, Florida

  • Metro Area: Jacksonville
  • Median Income: $40,897
  • Median Home Price: $392,732
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,131
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 63%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 41.90%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.8

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

10. Kitsap County, Washington

  • Metro Area: Bremerton-Silverdale
  • Median Income: $41,214
  • Median Home Price: $452,417
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,463
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 72%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 45.50%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.6

Image Credit: Ceri Breeze / iStock.

9. Salt Lake County, Utah

  • Metro Area: Salt Lake City
  • Median Income: $36,527
  • Median Home Price: $449,365
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,334
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 77%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 38.70%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.8

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

8. Larimer County, Colorado

  • Metro Area: Fort Collins
  • Median Income: $36,783
  • Median Home Price: $471,907
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,397
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 78%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 43.60%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.7

Image Credit: marekuliasz / iStock.

7. Davis County, Utah

  • Metro Area: Ogden-Clearfield
  • Median Income: $36,597
  • Median Home Price: $428,765
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,220
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 73%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 34.10%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 2

Image Credit: Scott Catron from Sandy, Utah, USA .

6. Douglas County, Colorado

  • Metro Area: Denver-Aurora-Lakewood
  • Median Income: $55,010
  • Median Home Price: $608,917
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $3,137
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 68%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 43.40%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.9

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

5. Washoe County, Nevada

  • Metro Area: Reno
  • Median Income: $37,078
  • Median Home Price: $460,647
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,370
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 77%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 46.90%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.7

Image Credit: photoquest7 / istockphoto.

4. Williamson County, Texas

  • Metro Area: Austin-Round Rock
  • Median Income: $41,446
  • Median Home Price: $378,412
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,385
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 69%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 58.00%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.6

Image Credit: RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / istockphoto.

3. Travis County, Texas

  • Metro Area: Austin-Round Rock
  • Median Income: $43,376
  • Median Home Price: $456,690
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,806
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 78%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 50.10%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.9

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

2. Collier County, Florida

  • Metro Area: Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island
  • Median Income: $32,033
  • Median Home Price: $435,313
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,265
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 85%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 69.50%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 1.4

Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

1. Ada County, Idaho

  • Metro Area: Boise City,
  • Median Income: $35,086
  • Median Home Price: $452,219
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: $2,368
  • Home Costs as % of Income: 81%
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: 59.30%
  • Own/Rent Ratio: 2.1

Image Credit: Sean Pavone/istockphoto.

Why Housing Is Becoming Unaffordable in the US

By the fourth quarter of 2021, the Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price index had risen by 18.6% within the previous 12 months. It’s no wonder that nearly 50% of Americans are concerned about affordability, wondering if they can handle soaring mortgage payments.

Supply chain-related delays and labor shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are slowing new home construction, meaning houses aren’t being built fast enough to satisfy demand. With a tight inventory of available homes, home prices are quickly rising.

Image Credit: monkeybusinessimages / istockphoto.

Work from home & the housing market

Another driving factor for home demand is increasing rates of remote work. According to a Pew Research Center study, U.S. workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home (59%) are working remotely all or most of the time.

As more Americans don’t have to contend with lengthy commutes, they’re opting for homes outside of expensive cities in more affordable suburbs, where they can find more living space for their money.

“Our business started skyrocketing in May 2020. Because of the pandemic, many people were spending more time in their homes and working remotely,” says Sharon Ayers, a North Carolina-based loan consultant who works with a national homebuilder. “People wanted bigger homes and families were moving in together and needing more space, like a mother-in-law suite.”

For buyers that can purchase a home, the increasing costs of homeownership — including rising home insurance premiums — can make it difficult for some to keep up with their mortgages. The real estate market is still expected to see rising prices continue to put pressure on affordability in 2022, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Methodology

MoneyGeek analyzed historical home prices, fair market rents and median mortgage payments from the National Association of Realtors, local property tax rates from SmartAsset, and population growth and median earnings from the U.S. Census by county to find counties in the U.S. that had recently become unaffordable.

Counties identified as recently unaffordable in the list above met the following criteria:

  • Populations larger than 250,000
  • Population growth greater than the average population growth in the country
  • A 2019 ratio of income-to-mortgage expenses that was less than 60%
  • House price appreciation since 2019 that was greater than 25%
  • Monthly homeownership was over 50% of the median income in the county

To order the list of places, we combined the following three factors into a score:

  • Price appreciation since 2019: double weight
  • The ratio of homeownership costs to rent
  • Homeownership costs as % of median income

This article originally appeared on MoneyGeek.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

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