May 31, 2022 - Real Estate

Seattle incomes aren't keeping up with surging home values

Illustration of a gold-plated house-for-sale sign.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Seattle locals have to earn 34.2% more than they did a year ago to afford the region's median-value home, per the latest analysis by real estate company Redfin.

The big picture: Limited inventory and strong demand are driving up sales prices, and surging mortgage rates have made home loans more expensive.

Why it matters: Seattle incomes aren't keeping up, further constricting entry into the housing market.

Data: Redfin; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios
Data: Redfin; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

By the numbers: In March 2021, you had to earn at least $113,136 to afford the median home for sale in the Seattle metro area, Redfin found.

  • This March, you needed to make $151,833.

Yes, but: Median household income in the Seattle metro is $90,790, according to newly released census data for 2016–2020.

Zoom in: At a median home price of $820,000, a monthly mortgage with 5% down jumped from $2,828 to $3,796 in the last year, per Redfin.

  • Of note: A monthly mortgage payment is considered affordable if the homebuyer spends no more than 30% of their income on housing.

The intrigue: The percent increase in income needed to buy a home in the Seattle area matches the national average — but our median home value is twice as high.

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