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It Takes Five Years of Income to Buy a House in Seattle

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A new study from Martin Prosperity Institute takes a look at, amongst other things, how many years a household would need to put in financially if you want to own a home in a major U.S. city. Here in Seattle, their analysis says it takes socking away about five years of household income in order to afford an average home. That's the same as Boston but slightly more than Portland (4.7 years). If you want to feel a little better, it takes someone in Los Angeles nine years of income before they can afford to buy.

But what if you're single? Well, things get even more grim, unfortunately. Seattle is still ninth among major cities but in the case of singles we're looking at 9.2 years of saving in order to afford a home. That's nothing compared to San Francisco (16.8 years) but that probably doesn't do much for you.

Interestingly, it looks like it's harder up in Whatcom County to save up enough to buy a home than it is in King County. It's unclear if this is due to less income or less housing opportunities.

How did they figure these numbers out? According to study co-leader Richard Florida, "we compared data on the average estimate sale prices of homes in metro areas from Zillow to data on average incomes in those same metro areas for both families and singles from the U.S. Census." It's worth noting their calculations do not account for mortgage interest. Also it takes in to consideration the rule of thumb in home buying that you should by a house roughly 2.6 times your annual income.
· The U.S. Cities Where It Takes the Longest to Be Able to Afford to Buy a Home [CL]