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Real Estate in Brief: The annual salaries needed for hottest U.S. cities, single-family home starts on rise, more

by Zeke Morris


The financial website How Much used data from the National Association of Realtors and mortgage-information website HSH.com to find the nation’s most expensive “average-sized” homes. The study found that the median U.S. household annual income rose nearly 2 percent since 2016, now at $61,372. However, to live in the nation’s most upscale cities, that number needs to be more than quadrupled.  
Analysts calculated the median price of homes in 50 of the United States’ most populated metropolitans by evaluating the factors of, “monthly principal, interest, property tax and insurance payments buyers have to pay for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage.” The researchers then calculated the necessary salary to afford each home, presuming that the properties had a 20 percent down payment and a total housing payment of less than 28 percent. 
California cities topped the list taking up the first four spots. Boston ranked No. 5 on the list “Top 10 cities where you to earn the most money to buy a typical home”, with needing an annual income of $109,411.  
“The second tier of expensive locales is along the East Coast,” How Much reports, “led by the familiar hot spots of unaffordable housing like Boston, New York and Washington, D.C.” 
In other real estate news: 

  • This September, housing starts have fallen 5.3 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,201,000. However, even with the decline, the rate remained 3.7 percent above last year’s September rate of 1,158,000. Researchers conclude that the recession is a result of the downward trend in multifamily starts. The study also found that single-family housing starts are 4.8 percent above the previous year with a September rate of 871,000, while starts in buildings of five or more units fell 12.9 percent, 324,000, from August. 
  • Tech provider Placester has revised and upgraded its website services to better encourage and aid in Realtor-client connections and communication. Placester is used by members of the National Association of Realtors, and offers efficient services used to reinforce or build real estate professionals’ online presence. The Edition sites include new features such as contact forms, a “featured area” tab to indicate the agents’ specialized neighborhoods, a mortgage calculator and blog posts. 
  • The release of the First American’s proprietary Potential Home Sales Model of September 2018 found that, despite the surge of equity, owners remain attached to their homes. The model found that existing-home sales have increased to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 6.18 million, reflecting a 65.4 percent increase from the 2011 market potential low point. That being said, the market potential for existing-homes has experienced an uptick of 3.5 percent within the last year, gaining 209,600 SAAR sales. However, the existing-home sales market is still underperforming by 7.2 percent.  
  • The portion of new homes with patios has increased to more than 58 percent since 2017. According to the NAHB tabulation from the Survey of Construction, of the estimated 850,000 single family homes, 58.6 percent of the homes had patios. The surge in numbers reflects how patios are far more common than decks, at 23.8 percent in 2017, but still less popular than porches, at 64.7 percent.

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