California, New Jersey, And Florida Have The Least Affordable Housing Markets

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Renters and homeowners in Passaic, N.J., each spend more than half of their income on monthly housing costs

July 18, 2017

Paterson, N.J., is the nation's sixth-least affordable housing market. Photo: BJT11091/Wikimedia Commons

While not known for being super-expensive, many people in Passaic, a densely-populated city in northern New Jersey, have to scrounge up money to pay the bills each month. With a median household income of around $27,000, renters and homeowners each spend more than 50 percent of their paychecks on housing, on average.

SmartAsset ranked Passaic as the nation’s least affordable housing market. The list factors in rent as percent of income, average housing costs as a percent of median household income, and median home value to median household income.

A theme emerged: 23 of the top 25 least affordable cities are in either California, Florida, or New Jersey. Other markets on the list include Miami (no. 2), Paterson, N.J. (No. 6), and Los Angeles (No. 13). Surprisingly, San Francisco didn’t make the cut.

San Francisco often grabs the headlines for its eye-popping rent numbers. Indeed the average San Francisco renter, according to the Census Bureau, is paying about $1,660 per month. But when you make $92,000 per year in household income (which the average San Francisco household makes), $1,660 doesn’t seem so bad.

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