MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Study: Seattle household income must be 80% higher than in 2020 to afford a house

Mar 1, 2024, 2:24 PM | Updated: 5:35 pm

Image: A row of houses in Seattle as household income in Seattle rises. (Flickr Creative Commons)...

A row of houses in Seattle as household income in Seattle rises. (Flickr Creative Commons)

(Flickr Creative Commons)

Things certainly have changed over the past four years when it comes to buying a home in Seattle.

Household income needed to afford a home comfortably is up 80% since 2020. The problem is: income is up just 23%.

Soaring home prices, high-interest rates, and lower salary increases are a lethal mix for potential Western Washington home buyers.

In Seattle, a family must make $213,984 to afford a home, according to a Zillow study. The shocker is the figure is only slightly higher than New York at $213,615.

Other most expensive cities all fall along the West Coast. They are San Jose ($454,296), San Francisco ($339,864), Los Angeles ($279,250) and San Diego ($273,613).

Redfin: Seattle-area home sales impacted by climate, environmental factors

If you are a potential home buyer and are willing to relocate: only $58,232 in income is needed in Pittsburgh, $69,976 in Memphis and $70,810 in Cleveland.

The typical U.S. home is now worth about $343,000, up 42%.

Assuming a 10% down payment, a typical monthly payment on a home has nearly doubled since in the U.S., up 96.4% to $2,188.

Co-buying with family or a friend has become an alternative way to afford a home. Also, many young buyers said being able to rent out part of the home for extra cash is extremely important.

The Zillow report assumes buyers spend no more than 30% of their income on housing (a common measure of housing affordability), make a 10% down payment and secure a 6.6% interest rate, the average rate in January.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here. 

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