Is Housing ‘Impossibly Unaffordable’ in Ohio?

In recent years, home prices have been climbing faster than incomes, making housing less affordable in many parts of the U.S. A study by Chapman University and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy found that five U.S. cities are among the world’s most expensive housing markets.

San Jose, California, is the least affordable city in the U.S. and the fourth least affordable in the English-speaking world. Other California cities in the top 10 include Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. Honolulu is the only city outside California to rank high on this list.

The study uses the price-to-income ratio, comparing median house prices to median household incomes, to determine affordability. The gap between housing costs and income has widened since the pandemic, leading to a cost-of-living crisis for many families.

Historically, home prices rose at a similar rate to incomes, making homeownership more common. However, this trend has changed, with housing costs now outpacing income growth.

The report blames restrictive land use policies for limiting housing supply and driving up land prices. Additionally, a Zillow report highlights a housing shortage of 4.5 million homes in the U.S., which contributes to record-high prices despite high mortgage rates.

Despite these challenges, there is some good news. Nine of the 10 most affordable cities are in the U.S. Pittsburgh is the most affordable, followed by Rochester and St. Louis. Other affordable markets include Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, and Louisville.

The study also identifies 17 “severely unaffordable” U.S. markets, just below the “impossibly unaffordable” category. These include West Coast cities like Seattle and Portland, and California areas such as Riverside-San Bernardino, Sacramento, and Fresno.

East Coast cities like New York and Boston, and Southwestern cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix, are also on the list. The South has three such markets: Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. The Mountain and Midwest regions have the fewest severely unaffordable markets, including Denver, Salt Lake City, and Milwaukee.

In summary, while housing affordability is a significant issue in many parts of the U.S., especially in California and other major urban areas, there are still cities where housing remains affordable for many Americans.

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