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Housing Apocalypse (80% of Major U.S. Counties Now Financially Devastated)

Housing Apocalypse (80% of Major U.S. Counties Now Financially Devastated) - haunting vacant neighborhood
The U.S. housing market faces a dire crisis with 80% of major counties now unaffordable, crushing homeownership dreams and creating severe financial burdens.
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Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • A catastrophic 80% of large U.S. counties are now financially devastating for homebuyers.
  • Home prices and mortgage rates have exploded, crushing wage growth.
  • The housing market has become a battlefield, with insurmountable challenges for both buyers and sellers.
Housing Apocalypse (80% of Major U.S. Counties Now Financially Devastated) - lone man standing in the middle of a residential street at night

Unimaginable Affordability Crisis Engulfs U.S. Housing Market

A catastrophic 80% of large U.S. counties have descended into unaffordability, creating a nightmarish scenario for would-be homebuyers.

According to a spine-chilling analysis by real estate analytics firm ATTOM, homeowners in these counties are hemorrhaging more than 28% of their wages on housing costs between April and June 2024.

This alarming trend categorizes housing as hopelessly out of reach.

Surging Costs: Homeownership Dreams Crushed

Home prices have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels in 2024, while mortgage rates hover around a terrifying 7%, more than double the rates of 2021.

ATTOM’s damning report reveals that the average homeowner, with an annual income of $72,358, is being financially suffocated by $2,114 per month in housing costs—35% of their income, far above the recommended 28%.

Seriously Unaffordable: Homeowners Drowning in Debt

In over a third of the markets analyzed by ATTOM, homeowners are spending an excruciating 43% of their wages on housing, which the firm classifies as “seriously unaffordable.”

Startlingly, 98.8% of the 589 counties examined are more unaffordable now than ever before, painting a grim picture of the housing affordability crisis.

Rising Housing Costs Outstrip Wage Growth: A Recipe for Disaster

Housing costs have been mercilessly outpacing wages for decades. Chris Herbert, managing editor for Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, warns that land prices have been growing at an alarming rate, far outstripping incomes.

This relentless trend has only intensified, fueling a perfect storm of unaffordability.

Epicenters of Unaffordability

The counties with the highest concentrations of financially devastated homeowners include:

  • Cook County, Illinois
  • Maricopa County, Arizona
  • San Diego County, California
  • Orange County, California

In stark contrast, areas with more affordable housing, though dwindling, include:

  • Harris County, Texas
  • Wayne County, Michigan
  • Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
  • Cuyahoga County, Ohio
  • Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Housing Market Carnage: A Brutal Year for Buyers and Sellers

The U.S. housing market in 2024 has been a battlefield for both buyers and sellers.

Many sellers, shackled by the golden handcuffs of lower mortgage rates from yesteryears, are unwilling to list their homes, creating a suffocating shortage of available properties.

Record-Breaking Home Prices and Skyrocketing Interest Rates: A Deadly Combination

As of June 2024, the national median home sale price has surged to a jaw-dropping $397,954, up from $383,000 a year ago, according to Redfin.

The average interest rate on a 30-year home loan has spiked to 6.95%, a steep climb from 6.81% a year earlier, as reported by Freddie Mac.

These dire conditions present insurmountable obstacles for homebuyers, particularly during the spring buying season when demand typically intensifies.

Assessment

The current housing affordability crisis has unleashed a financial catastrophe across the U.S. real estate market, devastating both potential buyers and existing homeowners.

With housing costs relentlessly outpacing wage growth and mortgage rates remaining sky-high, the dream of homeownership has transformed into a nightmare for many Americans.

Investors in the real estate sector must brace for this brutal landscape, recognizing the lurking dangers and potential opportunities in this volatile market.

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