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San Diego surpasses LA in home unaffordability

California home to the four least affordable metros when it comes to ratio of home prices and median income

It is no surprise that four Californian metropolitan areas led the way in unaffordability in September. Interestingly, San Diego actually surpassed Los Angeles in unaffordability, according to a new report from OJO Labs.

The report is based on data collected from every metro area in which more than 1,000 homes were sold in September.

San Diego’s median home sold price rose to $750,000 in September, marking a 2.4% increase from August and a 20% year-over-year increase. This increase drove the metro’s unaffordability score, which is a ratio of median home sold price to median household income, to 8.16, according to the report.

Los Angeles’s unaffordability score dropped to 8.11, after the median home sold price declined 0.7% to $685,000. San Francisco and Monterey-Salinas are the two most unaffordable metros in the country.

When looking at the top 25 metros in terms of the number of homes sold in September, the report found that Milwaukee, Wisconsin, saw the largest increase in unaffordability score. After the median home sold price climbed to $249,000, a 57% year-over-year increase, in September, the metro’s unaffordability score rose 50.53% compared to a year prior.

How Freddie Mac is addressing affordable housing challenges

As part of Freddie Mac’s mission to provide liquidity, stability, affordability and equality to the housing market, Freddie Mac created its Housing Solutions team in 2020 to reduce barriers to homeownership and provide solutions to some of the nation’s toughest housing challenges. 

Presented by: Freddie Mac

In metros where more than 10,000 homes were sold in September, Phoenix saw the biggest year-over-year increase in the unaffordability score. The metro’s score rose 21% to 5.39, reflecting the 26.1% year-over-year increase in median sold price.

On the flip side, Baltimore, Maryland saw the largest decrease in unaffordability score, meaning that the metro is more affordable this September than it was a year prior. Median home sold prices in Baltimore dropped 4.4% in September compared to a year ago, driving the unaffordability score down 6.76%.

Nationwide, the affordability eased a bit from August to September 2021, with the unaffordability score dropping slightly to 4.85 after median home sold price stayed roughly static from month to month. While this is an indication of a cooling market, it is very much in line with typical seasonal changes.

Despite this drop, however, compared to a year earlier, it was much harder to afford a home in September 2021 due to the median home sold price rising 15.1%.