Home costs in almost 70 percent of U.S. counties outstrip average buyer income

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Three North Texas counties have wound up on a list of the nation’s most unaffordable home buying markets.

Grayson, Ellis and Collin counties were all ranked among the worst in the country for home affordability, according to a new report by Attom Data Solutions.

In almost 70 percent of metro areas around the country, mid-priced homes are now longer affordable for average wage earners, the real estate research firm said.

"Coastal markets are the epicenter of the U.S. home affordability crisis, but affordability aftershocks are now being felt further inland as housing refugees migrate from the high-cost coastal markets to lower-priced markets in the middle of the country where good jobs are available," Daren Blomquist, senior vice president with ATTOM Data Solutions, said in a statement. "That in turn is pushing home prices above historically normal affordability limits in those middle-America markets."

Grayson County ranked just behind Santa Fe, New Mexico as the two U.S. markets with the most unaffordable housing based on average incomes for the areas.

Ellis County and Collin County also were near the top of a list of more than 400 counties ranked for worst home affordability.

During the last two years, Grayson County – just north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area – has seen some of the biggest increases in home prices in the nation as businesses have moved to the area along with commuters.

Wages in Grayson County rose by about a fourth of the average 12 percent jump in home sales prices last year, Attom Data Solutions said.

The spread was even greater in Ellis County, where average wages were more than $20,000 a year less than what it would take to buy a mid-priced house.

In booming Collin County, average income would need to rise almost $30,000 to qualify to purchase a median-priced house.

The survey showed that Dallas County residents had just enough income on average to buy a mid-priced home. But houses in those price ranges are in tight supply.

Attom Data Solutions said that in more than 73 percent of the U.S. markets it tracks, home affordability was down in the first quarter of 2018 compared with a year earlier.

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