Report: Over half of Seattle homeowners couldn't afford their homes now


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    Home prices are increasing across the country, and average wages are not keeping up.

    Best Neighborhood, a neighborhood analysis and data visualization website, analyzed incomes and home prices across the country and found that as of 2019, 27 percent of homeowners would not be able to safely afford their same house today. That number combines the about 14.2 percent of homeowners who would definitely not qualify for a mortgage loan and the 12.8 percent who may or may not qualify, but would be financially stretched if they did.

    In Seattle, that number jumps to 52.8 percent.

    But it doesn't get much better outside the Emerald City -- Washington as a whole ranks among the states where most homeowners would not be able to afford their house today.

    Though Washington is not the worst. There are five states where homeowners are even less likely to be able to afford their current homes in today's market.

    When looking at cities, all of the worst 25 cities are located in California -- though two states are worse overall than the Golden State.

    Compare that to 1990, when over 50 percent of homeowners would be able to afford their homes in that market -- and just 4.3 percent of homeowners would definitely have not qualified for a mortgage.

    So why the change? Nationwide, wages are not increasing as quickly as home prices -- not even close. For all but the top 10 percent of earners, wages have largely stagnated, according to Pew Research Center.

    "If wages do not continue to rise to match home prices, our analysis provides evidence that current real estate price increases are far from sustainable," Best Neighborhood said in its analysis.

    The analysis cites a 2015 Harvard study showing that homeowner rates among young adults has been falling and is expected to continue falling.

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