MoneyGeek Analysis:

26 Places in the US Where Homeownership Has Become Unaffordable

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Last Updated: 11/27/2022
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In recent years, the increasing cost of real estate has made it difficult for many locals to afford homes in their communities. MoneyGeek analyzed changes in homeownership costs, home price appreciation and median incomes from 2019 to 2022 to reveal 26 counties in the U.S. where the housing market is no longer affordable.

Key Findings:
  • Boise, Idaho, and Naples, Florida, top our list of places that have recently become unaffordable. With housing appreciating 59% in Boise and 70% in Naples since 2019, these places have become significantly more expensive, despite their populations growing faster than the national average.
  • Outlying counties of high-growth metros have become unaffordable. Austin and Round Rock, Texas's counties rank third and fourth on our list. Douglas County outside of Denver, Colorado, also ranks high, with a house price appreciation of 43% since 2019.
  • Following Denver, Snohomish County outside of Seattle, Washington, tops the list for highest median home prices at $555,495.
  • 20 of the 26 areas with the most recently unaffordable homes are in the western United States.

US Counties Where Homeownership Is Recently Unaffordable

To find our list of recently unaffordable counties, MoneyGeek narrowed down counties with populations larger than 250,000 that had population growth above the national average. The analysis examined three factors in these counties: home price appreciation since 2019, the ratio of homeownership costs to rent and homeownership costs as a percentage of median income.

Top 5 Counties in the US Where Housing Is No Longer Affordable

Below are the top five counties where housing costs have increased the most in the past three years and some of the factors affecting their high cost of living.

1

Ada County, Idaho

Housing prices are rising much faster than incomes in Idaho’s most populous county, known for its urban and rural landscapes.

2

Collier County, Florida

In this vacationer’s destination known as “Paradise Coast,” low-interest rates and an influx of buyers from expensive cities like New York City are driving up home prices.

3

Travis County, Texas

High demand for homes with few houses in supply is steadily increasing homeownership costs in this south-central region of Texas. Notably, this county is also home to Austin, Texas, which has seen staggering growth in the past decade.

4

Williamson County, Texas

An influx of people moving to the suburbs of Austin is increasing home costs in this Texas community.

5

Washoe County, Nevada

With a population of nearly half a million, this county borders California and Oregon and owes its increasing unaffordability to a combination of low inventory and rising demand.

26 Counties in the US Where Housing Is No Longer Affordable


  • 1. Ada County, Idaho
    Metro Area:Boise City
    Ada County, Idaho

    • 59.3%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $452,219Median Home Price
    • 81%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $35,086Median Income

  • 2. Collier County, Florida
    Metro Area:Naples | Immokalee | Marco Island
    Collier County, Florida

    • 69.5%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $435,313Median Home Price
    • 85%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $32,033Median Income

  • 3. Travis County, Texas
    Metro Area:Austin | Round Rock
    Travis County, Texas

    • 50.1%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $456,690Median Home Price
    • 78%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $43,376Median Income

  • 4. Williamson County, Texas
    Metro Area:Austin | Round Rock
    Williamson County, Texas

    • 58.0%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $378,412Median Home Price
    • 69%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $41,446Median Income

  • 5. Washoe County, Nevada
    Metro Area:Reno
    Washoe County, Nevada

    • 46.9%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $460,647Median Home Price
    • 77%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $37,078Median Income

  • 6. Douglas County, Colorado
    Metro Area:Denver | Aurora | Lakewood
    Douglas County, Colorado

    • 43.4%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $608,917Median Home Price
    • 68%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $55,010Median Income

  • 7. Davis County, Utah
    Metro Area:Ogden | Clearfield
    Davis County, Utah

    • 34.1%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $428,765Median Home Price
    • 73%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $36,597Median Income

  • 8. Larimer County, Colorado
    Metro Area:Fort Collins
    Larimer County, Colorado

    • 43.6%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $471,907Median Home Price
    • 78%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $36,783Median Income

  • 9. Salt Lake County, Utah
    Metro Area:Salt Lake City
    Salt Lake County, Utah

    • 38.7%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $449,365Median Home Price
    • 77%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $36,527Median Income

  • 10. Kitsap County, Washington
    Metro Area:Bremerton | Silverdale
    Kitsap County, Washington

    • 45.5%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $452,417Median Home Price
    • 72%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $41,214Median Income

  • 11. St. Johns County, Florida
    Metro Area:Jacksonville
    St. Johns County, Florida

    • 41.9%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $392,732Median Home Price
    • 63%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $40,897Median Income

  • 12. Sacramento County, California
    Metro Area:Sacramento | Roseville | Arden | Arcade
    Sacramento County, California

    • 40.8%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $459,373Median Home Price
    • 74%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $39,434Median Income

  • 13. Spokane County, Washington
    Metro Area:Spokane | Spokane Valley
    Spokane County, Washington

    • 38.6%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $328,400Median Home Price
    • 65%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $33,812Median Income

  • 14. Snohomish County, Washington
    Metro Area:Seattle | Tacoma | Bellevue
    Snohomish County, Washington

    • 37.7%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $555,495Median Home Price
    • 77%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $46,920Median Income

  • 15. Merced County, California
    Metro Area:Merced
    Merced County, California

    • 44.7%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $329,284Median Home Price
    • 67%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $30,889Median Income

  • 16. Clark County, Nevada
    Metro Area:Las Vegas | Henderson | Paradise
    Clark County, Nevada

    • 47.6%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $358,832Median Home Price
    • 63%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $35,145Median Income

  • 17. Pierce County, Washington
    Metro Area:Seattle | Tacoma | Bellevue
    Pierce County, Washington

    • 36.5%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $425,613Median Home Price
    • 70%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $41,269Median Income

  • 18. Sarasota County, Florida
    Metro Area:North Port | Sarasota | Bradenton
    Sarasota County, Florida

    • 54.7%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $325,911Median Home Price
    • 65%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $31,933Median Income

  • 19. Charleston County, South Carolina
    Metro Area:Charleston | North Charleston
    Charleston County, South Carolina

    • 52.5%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $396,168Median Home Price
    • 57%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $41,782Median Income

  • 20. Thurston County, Washington
    Metro Area:Olympia | Tumwater
    Thurston County, Washington

    • 28.9%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $408,162Median Home Price
    • 68%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $40,028Median Income

  • 21. Jefferson County, Colorado
    Metro Area:Denver | Aurora | Lakewood
    Jefferson County, Colorado

    • 32.1%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $536,759Median Home Price
    • 69%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $47,438Median Income

  • 22. Marion County, Oregon
    Metro Area:Salem
    Marion County, Oregon

    • 25.7%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $341,919Median Home Price
    • 72%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $31,677Median Income

  • 23. Collin County, Texas
    Metro Area:Dallas | Fort Worth | Arlington
    Collin County, Texas

    • 27.0%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $403,500Median Home Price
    • 60%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $50,681Median Income

  • 24. Maricopa County, Arizona
    Metro Area:Phoenix | Mesa | Scottsdale
    Maricopa County, Arizona

    • 42.7%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $365,197Median Home Price
    • 61%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $36,856Median Income

  • 25. Buncombe County, North Carolina
    Metro Area:Asheville
    Buncombe County, North Carolina

    • 40.4%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $315,927Median Home Price
    • 62%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $31,927Median Income

  • 26. Clark County, Washington
    Metro Area:Vancouver | Portland | Hillsboro
    Clark County, Washington

    • 26.1%Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
    • $430,970Median Home Price
    • 69%Home Costs as % of Income
    • $41,096Median Income

Why Housing Is Becoming Unaffordable in the US

By the fourth quarter of 2021, the Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price index had risen by 18.6% within the previous 12 months. It's no wonder that nearly 50% of Americans are concerned about affordability, wondering if they can handle soaring mortgage payments.

Supply chain-related delays and labor shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are slowing new home construction, meaning houses aren’t being built fast enough to satisfy demand. With a tight inventory of available homes, home prices are quickly rising.

Another driving factor for home demand is increasing rates of remote work. According to a Pew Research Center study, U.S. workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home (59%) are working remotely all or most of the time. As more Americans don’t have to contend with lengthy commutes, they’re opting for homes outside of expensive cities in more affordable suburbs, where they can find more living space for their money.

"Our business started skyrocketing in May 2020. Because of the pandemic, many people were spending more time in their homes and working remotely," says Sharon Ayers, a North Carolina-based loan consultant who works with a national homebuilder. "People wanted bigger homes and families were moving in together and needing more space, like a mother-in-law suite."

For buyers that can purchase a home, the increasing costs of homeownership — including rising home insurance premiums — can make it difficult for some to keep up with their mortgages. The real estate market is still expected to see rising prices continue to put pressure on affordability in 2022, according to the U.S. News & World Report.

Expert Advice: How to Navigate Rising Home Prices

If you plan to buy a home in 2022, these four experts have advice to help you navigate declining affordability in the country’s most expensive real estate markets.

  1. What advice do you have for someone looking for affordable housing?
  2. What are some of the most important considerations for homebuyers in this current market?
  3. What can someone do to improve their chances of getting approved?
  4. What else should homebuyers know?
Angie Stoltenberg
Angie Stoltenberg

Broker & Realtor, Nest Realty

Alyssa Roccanti
Alyssa Roccanti

Broker, NC/SC REALTOR®

Mary Lou Webb
Mary Lou Webb

Realtor | Broker CNE, ABR, RSPS

Jamil Damji
Jamil Damji

Real Estate Investor & Wholesale Expert, Co-Star of the A&E Series, "Triple Digit Flip"

Methodology

MoneyGeek analyzed historical home prices, fair market rents and median mortgage payments from the National Association of Realtors, local property tax rates from SmartAsset, and population growth and median earnings from the U.S. Census by county to find counties in the U.S. that had recently become unaffordable.

Counties identified as recently unaffordable in the list above met the following criteria:

  • Populations larger than 250,000
  • Population growth greater than the average population growth in the country
  • A 2019 ratio of income-to-mortgage expenses that was less than 60%
  • House price appreciation since 2019 that was greater than 25%
  • Monthly homeownership was over 50% of the median income in the county

To order the list of places, we combined the following three factors into a score:

  • Price appreciation since 2019: double weight
  • The ratio of homeownership costs to rent
  • Homeownership costs as % of median income

Full Data Set

The data points presented are defined as follows:

  • Metro Area: The metropolitan statistical area where each county is located.
  • Median Income: The median income in the county.
  • Median Home Price: The median home price in the county.
  • Monthly Homeownership Cost: The median monthly homeownership cost in the county.
  • Home Costs as % of Income: Housing costs in the county divided by the median income in the county, multiplied by 100.
  • Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years: House price appreciation in the county from 2019 to 2021.
  • Own/Rent Ratio: The number of people who own homes divided by the number of people who rent in the county.
Rank
County
Metro Area
Median Income
Median Home Price
Monthly Homeownership Cost
Home Costs as % of Income
Home Price Appreciation in the Last 3 Years
Own/Rent Ratio

1

Ada County, Idaho

Boise City, ID

$35,086

$452,219

$2,368

81%

59.3%

2.1

2

Collier County, Florida

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL

$32,033

$435,313

$2,265

85%

69.5%

1.4

3

Travis County, Texas

Austin-Round Rock, TX

$43,376

$456,690

$2,806

78%

50.1%

1.9

4

Williamson County, Texas

Austin-Round Rock, TX

$41,446

$378,412

$2,385

69%

58.0%

1.6

5

Washoe County, Nevada

Reno, NV

$37,078

$460,647

$2,370

77%

46.9%

1.7

6

Douglas County, Colorado

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

$55,010

$608,917

$3,137

68%

43.4%

1.9

7

Davis County, Utah

Ogden-Clearfield, UT

$36,597

$428,765

$2,220

73%

34.1%

2.0

8

Larimer County, Colorado

Fort Collins, CO

$36,783

$471,907

$2,397

78%

43.6%

1.7

9

Salt Lake County, Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

$36,527

$449,365

$2,334

77%

38.7%

1.8

10

Kitsap County, Washington

Bremerton-Silverdale, WA

$41,214

$452,417

$2,463

72%

45.5%

1.6

11

St. Johns County, Florida

Jacksonville, FL

$40,897

$392,732

$2,131

63%

41.9%

1.8

12

Sacramento County, California

Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA

$39,434

$459,373

$2,436

74%

40.8%

1.6

13

Spokane County, Washington

Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA

$33,812

$328,400

$1,834

65%

38.6%

1.8

14

Snohomish County, Washington

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

$46,920

$555,495

$3,020

77%

37.7%

1.6

15

Merced County, California

Merced, CA

$30,889

$329,284

$1,729

67%

44.7%

1.5

16

Clark County, Nevada

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

$35,145

$358,832

$1,855

63%

47.6%

1.5

17

Pierce County, Washington

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

$41,269

$425,613

$2,392

70%

36.5%

1.6

18

Sarasota County, Florida

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

$31,933

$325,911

$1,737

65%

54.7%

1.3

19

Charleston County, South Carolina

Charleston-North Charleston, SC

$41,782

$396,168

$1,988

57%

52.5%

1.4

20

Thurston County, Washington

Olympia-Tumwater, WA

$40,028

$408,162

$2,256

68%

28.9%

1.8

21

Jefferson County, Colorado

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

$47,438

$536,759

$2,730

69%

32.1%

1.6

22

Marion County, Oregon

Salem, OR

$31,677

$341,919

$1,910

72%

25.7%

1.7

23

Collin County, Texas

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

$50,681

$403,500

$2,520

60%

27.0%

1.8

24

Maricopa County, Arizona

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

$36,856

$365,197

$1,876

61%

42.7%

1.4

25

Buncombe County, North Carolina

Asheville, NC

$31,927

$315,927

$1,644

62%

40.4%

1.4

26

Clark County, Washington

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

$41,096

$430,970

$2,360

69%

26.1%

1.6

About the Author


expert-profile

As a longtime writer and editor with a master's degree in journalism, Erin has written about a variety of topics over the years including lifestyle, business, entertainment and government, but she has spent the last few years focused on various money topics like banking, insurance and budgeting for AAA Living Magazine, Wells Fargo and BB&T. She loves creating content that inspires financial empowerment.


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