Are Women Being Priced Out of The Housing Market?

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Th folks over at PropertyShark.com sent me these interesting infographics this morning.  I don’t see myself buying any time in the near future. I lucked out with a rent controlled apartment in Manhattan. I’ve been advised by nearly everyone I meet never to give this place up, even if I do buy, but this study doesn’t exactly leave me feeling hopeful that I’ll be able to afford a place. This article by RentCafe.com was equally enlightening, as it appears women are also being squeezed out of renting apartments, too.

From the article:

14 cities have priced out all singles looking to buy a home

Notoriously competitive markets like Manhattan, Boston, Miami and most of California have long priced the majority of their residents out of the home market. The monthly payment on a one-bedroom in these hot spots now far exceeds 30% of the average incomes of both single men and single women.

Once again, Manhattan and LA are in a league of their own in terms of mortgage cost – it actually takes more than the entire monthly income of a single woman to cover the mortgage on a small apartment in these cities, and close to a man’s full salary to do so. Elsewhere, things aren’t much better; for example, the average mortgage payment in Boston or San Francisco would take up over 90% of a woman’s income – and 85% of it in Miami.

Home prices in Washington, Philadelphia and Portland may be significantly lower than in other cities on the two coasts, but here too single residents of both genders now earn too little to be able to afford the average one-bedroom on their own. As for the South, the largest cities to become unaffordable for the single population are New Orleans and Austin – the latter, the only Texan city too expensive for men to buy a home in, by a landslide.

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Based on the industry’s rule of thumb that no more than 30% of monthly income should go to either mortgage payments or rent, we labeled each city as either housing-friendly or unaffordable to single men and women. We also narrowed our definition of “home” to include only starter units – studios and one-bedroom rentals, condos or houses, as larger homes are beyond the budget of all singles almost everywhere we looked.

What resulted was a rather bleak picture of the urban housing market for all single people, but especially for women. With single women’s median income considerably lower than that of men in all the cities we looked at, and the trend of real estate prices out-pacing income gains in recent years, there are a host of cities that are now effectively out of the reach of potential female buyers and renters.

Notoriously competitive markets like Manhattan, Boston, Miami and most of California have long priced the majority of their residents out of the home market. The monthly payment on a one-bedroom in these hot spots now far exceeds 30% of the average incomes of both single men and single women.

Once again, Manhattan and LA are in a league of their own in terms of mortgage cost – it actually takes more than the entire monthly income of a single woman to cover the mortgage on a small apartment in these cities, and close to a man’s full salary to do so. Elsewhere, things aren’t much better; for example, the average mortgage payment in Boston or San Francisco would take up over 90% of a woman’s income – and 85% of it in Miami.

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2 comments

  1. 20 years ago, when I had to be “somewhere in the NorthEast close to a major airport hub”, I chose to settle in Boston instead of NYC because Boston was cheaper in terms of rent costs & real estate prices than NYC (albeit by only about 20%). I bought into my neighborhood (Jamaica Plain, for those that know Boston) in 2001 as it was starting to become more gentrified (i.e. popular), so I got a pretty good deal at the time. Today, 15 years later, there’s no way in hell I could afford to buy into my neighborhood. Prices are almost double what they were in 2001 – and my income has definitely not doubled since 2001 (has anyone’s. other than the one-percenters?!?).
    I don’t have children so a large one bedroom condo works fine for me. When I look at what even a small house costs, I don’t know how even an above average earning family of 5 (2 parents & 3 children) manages to live within 10 miles of downtown Boston, without going into a hideous amount of mortgage debt that they will still be paying off in their old age.

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    1. What’s up, JP!! I own on the North Shore and even up here the housing costs are going through the roof and the competition for condos in particular is insane. One of my friends had a hard time finding a RENTAL in my area for under $2,000/month. That’s ridiculous. My parents are thinking of putting their house in Belmont on the market and what did the realtor suggest listing their (nice enough, but nothing earth-shattering) colonial for? $1.4m, with the idea of driving the bidding up to $1.6m. I have no idea how the young families are supposed to do it either. It’s starting to get tough on business owners as well, because how do you find entry and mid-level employees when your candidates can’t afford to live within an hour of the office? The answer, obviously, is not ten more buildings with 1-bedrooms starting at the one million mark. Sigh.

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