Dec 19, 2022 - Real Estate

Austin renters can't afford a starter home

Cities where renters <span style="background:  #1ac074; padding:3px 5px;color:white;">do</span> or  <span style="background: #8e8e8e; padding:3px 5px;color:white;">don’t</span> meet  income requirements for a starter home mortgage
Data: Point2Homes; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Austin renters earned 43% of the income they would need to afford a starter home in October, according to an analysis by real estate website Point2Homes.

  • Researchers considered "starter homes" properties valued in the lower one-third of all available homes for sale.

Why it matters: Higher mortgage rates and housing costs are keeping homeownership out of reach from many first-time buyers.

By the numbers: Renters in Austin earned a household income of $55,640 on average, while the income needed to cover a mortgage was $129,268, per the analysis.

  • In September, a typical Austin "starter home" cost $454,836, the study found, analyzing Zillow data.

Zoom out: Following October's interest rate hike, renter households in 15 of the 50 largest U.S. cities made less than half the income needed to buy one of the cheapest homes in town, per the analysis.

The big picture: Across the U.S., the share of first-time homebuyers has shrunk to a record low, according to the National Association of Realtors.

  • First-time buyers made up 26% of all buyers in 2022, down from 34% last year, the group found.

What we're watching: There are some promising signs for homebuyers, according to the latest Central Texas Housing Market Report by the Austin Board of Realtors.

  • For the first time since spring 2020, there were no records broken for home sales or median price in Austin or the metro area as home sales declined by 36.6%.
  • But Austin home values would have to fall 36% to return to historical affordability norms, per a recent Zillow report.

Go deeper: 3 reasons it's getting harder for renters to buy


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