In a housing market plagued with low inventory, soaring prices and competition, first-time buyers are struggling to purchase the most entry-level homes available.
Affordable starter homes are becoming less common according to a recent report published by Realtor.com. Entry-level homes first appeared on the market across the United States after World War II. Builders first constructed these smaller homes with fewer frills to keep them affordable and accessible to new buyers. Over time, however, builders have shifted their focus to creating more profitable homes as the cost of construction rises.
“But in recent years, they’ve shifted to building larger, more profitable homes as land, materials, and governmental costs have driven up prices,” said the Realtor.com report. “Many starters have been torn down so larger homes can go up in their stead. And investors have bid up the prices on those that remain.”
Amid rising interest rates and growing home prices, affording the average starter home is becoming much harder for buyers. With prices having sharply risen over the past three years, Realtor.com said that the average starter home now costs around 48% more. The income needed to purchase a starter home has also risen 86%.
So, if you’re a wannabe first-time homebuyer in Phoenix, how much money would you need to bring home to afford the standard entry-level property? At least six figures, according to Realtor.com’s research.
The real estate website published the required household income buyers would need to have in the 100 largest metropolitan areas to afford a two-bedroom starter home as of September. In the Phoenix metro, a household would need to earn approximately $107,412 per year to afford the $2,685 monthly payment on the median two-bedroom home, which costs $385,000.
Phoenix buyers looking for a starter home would have an easier time compared to other large U.S. metros. In cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle, you’d need to earn between $170,171 and $195,294 a year. San Jose requires the most annual income to afford the median two-bedroom property according to Reatlor.com, where buyers will need a yearly take home of $245,234 to get on the property ladder.
Housing correction could aid some starter homebuyers
For future first-time homebuyers, the immediate future looks bleak.
“It’s a tough market, especially for first-time buyers,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale in the report. “Unfortunately, the outlook is not great.”
Over the past few years, high demand coupled with low interest rates and a shortage of homes fueled the rise of home prices. In the short-term, Realtor.com said that mortgage rates are unlikely to rise, nor are incomes expected to quickly increase.
However, an early correction in the housing market could help those looking for a starter home get into a more advantageous position as more homes flood the market and fewer buyers enter the ring.
“We have seen buyer demand pull back in a big way, because affordability has come down so much,” said Hale. “And hiked interest rates seem to be having an impact, with listing inventory climbing in the past few months.”