Many of the country’s hottest markets are usually driven by extremely strong job markets and notoriously high home values. But even within these pricey markets, homebuyers can often find housing with less of a financial burden often only a few miles but often with trade-offs, according to a newly released report by the online listing site Zillow.
Nationwide, the metro-level mortgage burden is 14.6 percent. In other words, Americans spend on average 14.6 percent of their income on a housing payment. The mortgage burden within many of the country’s hottest markets — like New York City and Silicon Valley — are substantially higher, while homebuyers in a more depressed metro like Detroit, MI will only pay 6 percent of their income on housing.
But, within many of the country’s metros where homeowners have, on average, the highest financial burdens, there are often cities in the metro that provide housing with less of a financial burden, says Zillow.
The San Jose, CA metro area has consistently been one of the hottest housing markets in the country. Homebuyers in Palo Alto, CA — a city within the San Jose metro — will spend 75 percent of their income on a housing payment, the highest burden in the country.
However, in Milpitas, CA — just 15 miles away from Palo Alto — homebuyers will only spend 35 percent of their earnings on housing.
Similarly, in the New York/Northern New Jersey Metro — which includes hot markets like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and booming Jersey City, NJ — the mortgage burden is nearly 25 percent. But, in Brentwood, NY, homebuyers will only put 14.7 percent of their income toward a mortgage payment.
Hot housing markets like Silicon Valley are more often than not fueled by high demand for jobs and amenities. This demand drives home values to rise faster than income, according to Zillow. Higher rates of inequality are prevalent in these expensive markets as a result of this phenomenon.
Zillow’s research has found that these “runaway housing costs” have put significant financial burdens on the people who both live and work within these uber-hot areas. And although neighboring cities may offer more affordable housing, they often come with a trade-off — such as fewer “amenities or longer commute times, Zillow points out.
“Expensive West Coast markets get a lot of attention for being unaffordable, but even they have some areas where the share of income spent on housing is relatively low,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell in a media release.
Gudell added that some cities in these ultra-hot markets have such high financial burdens that they are just impossibly out of reach for lower-income buyers. “If income growth doesn’t keep pace with home value growth, especially as mortgage rates rise, inequality will persist,” he said.
Click here to read the entire report.