Sunday, May 28, 2006

TownScores™ Housing Affordability

TownScores™ Housing Affordability

A friend from San Diego complained that salaries were not keeping up with house prices in her city. I decided to punch up the numbers myself for comparison. I suspected that Miami would prove worse off than San Diego in terms of house affordability.

of Monthly Budget Devoted to Mortgage Payments
1. Metro Area Seattle Austin Atlanta Miami San Diego Tucson
2. Med. Price 459,800 167,900 185,100 387,800 491,000 175,100
3. Med. Income 46,650 45,508 37,385 24,031 51,382 31,901
4. Yrs to earn House 10 4 5 16 10 5
5. Median Mo. Income 3888 3792 3115 2003 4282 2658
6. Est. Monthly Payment* 2942 1074 1184 2481 3142 1120
  1. Percentage of Monthly Budget Devoted to Mortgage Payments
  2. Metropolitan Area
  3. Median Home Price
  4. Median Household Income
  5. Years of income to earn house
  6. Median Household Monthly Income
  7. Estimated Monthly Payment*

It would appear that, with income nearly as robust as Seattle, and the lowest median home price in the group, Austin has the most affordable housing measured here. This may be due in part to Austin's ease of expansion, thanks to its surrounding acreage of development-ready farm ground.


Figures are in United States Dollars ($US). Item 1, "Percentage of Monthly Budget Devoted to Mortgage Payments" expresses how much of an average household income would be devoted to house payments, if the family were to purchase a median-priced house. Clearly, at 124% of monthly income, many Miami families would not qualify for home ownership. * Item 6 is a simple calculation mortgage only, not insurance, property taxes or other additionals. An interest rate of 6.62% and a 30-year mortgage is assumed. Also, Full median home price is financed, as opposed to assuming 10% down payment. Figures are meant for comparison only.
Mortgage rate source: Freddie Mac


At Tuesday, June 06, 2006 8:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, you're exceedingly practical. However I must selfishly say that I find the data presented to be quite helpful as I am considering a move and Austin, Atlanta, and Tucson are on my list of possible cities. Those as well as Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis or back to Seattle. I currently reside in San Diego.

Why leave the this idyllic setting? Good question. My main motivation is financial. Unfortunately I haven't been able to build any sizeable equity so I must find another locale where the opportunity exists. My secondary motivation is weather. This may sound insane but I enjoy seasonal changes.

I've almost reached the point where all the statiscal analysis I've performed has made me rather paralyzed. I just need to put all the cities into a hat and draw one.

I've enjoyed your reading your entries with the knowledge that I'm not alone in my quest for another abode.

At Tuesday, June 06, 2006 11:47:00 PM, Blogger Monte Hayward said...

:: exceedingly practical
I'm told that I'm a typical Capricorn.

Don't worry, if you get paralyzed, life has a way of forcing the issue. Chuckle.

Care to share any of your statistical analyses?

At Sunday, June 11, 2006 11:50:00 PM, Anonymous soco_austin said...

Austin hi's and low's

It's really hot during the 'dog days' of summer and may not be as liberal as seatle, but you can get into a nice house for under 180k, close into to town and in an appreciating (10%+) market.

At Sunday, June 11, 2006 11:52:00 PM, Anonymous - said...

Austin is great. Similar to SFo and very trendy. artsy and liberal. RE should go up there quite a bit.

At Sunday, June 11, 2006 11:54:00 PM, Anonymous soco_austin said...

correct, used to be hookers on SOCO....

the SOCO area and E/central (french place area) are the cooliest areas. i'm from here. i remember when hookers used to stop us on S. congress and Monroe and you could pick up a property for 50k.
now your average cottage soco house will run 300k+

At Monday, June 12, 2006 9:32:00 AM, Blogger austinrealestateguy said...

You posted a comment and a question to my blog in March. I never got an email notifying me of it and just now found it. Your question was about why Austin rents are so low.

First, some more current stats: the median home price in Austin in April, 2006 was $175,000. This was up 8% over April, 2005. Sales in April were up 12%, listings down 9% and pending sales up 22%.

Why are homes cheap in the Austin area? North, east and south are all flat and builders can get homes up as fast as they can unload the supply trucks. There were 16,876 starts during the first quarter of 2006. This is an increase of 40% over last year. Finished vacant homes have under 2 months of inventory.

Rents are low because homes have been so affordable and interest rates have been low.

See more at my site at

At Thursday, November 02, 2006 3:41:00 PM, Anonymous Ki Gray said...

Austin is pretty nice. Its hot in the summer but it cools down. We have a ton of music and art/film festivals. People are often surprised that we have a bunch of trees and lakes. People are pretty laid back generally. There was some study that Austin was the most impatient city in the US. That is pretty much a bunch of crap. I wrote about it here Austin is impatient. It turns out that have wifi = being impatient. Austin is generally pretty affordable. If you want to live right downtown prices are higher. But there are still houses 5 to 8 minutes from downtown that are pretty affordable.

At Wednesday, April 02, 2008 9:56:00 AM, Blogger attagirl said...

My husband and I are considering a move to Austin. Northwestern PA where we currently reside is pretty depressed. Employment is scarce, prices are high, yayaya.

How has the Austin housing market held up under the most recent national downward trends? Is it possible to buy a 1-2 bedroom rural home that is structurally sound on 3-5 acres for under $120,000? (I know you are not an RE agent, but this is just an initial inquiry of Austin and we're not ready to hand out our contact info to any property peddlers yet.) What are gas prices? My husband is a geologist, so is it safe to assume your Texas newspaper classifieds are teaming with "geologist wanted" ads? (We hear you have some oil down there.) I am an artist, so it sounds like the trendy social climate would lend itself to my "type." Is that a safe assumption too?

Thanks in advance for your help.

from, attagirl


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