Paying for a mortgage is still affordable, while rent takes up more income than ever in most major metro areas, according to a recent Zillow analysis of U.S. rental and mortgage affordability in the second quarter of 2015.
Rental affordability worsened over the last year, while mortgage affordability stayed essentially the same. Renters in the U.S. can expect to put 30.2% of their monthly income toward rent – the highest percentage ever. Before the real estate bubble burst, renters could expect to spend about 24.4% of their incomes on rent, according to Zillow.
Buyers should expect to pay 15.1% of their income towards mortgage payments, which is still less than what they spent historically. From 1985 through 2000, homeowners spent about 21.3% of their monthly income on mortgage payments.
“Our research found that unaffordable rents are making it hard for people to save for a down payment and retirement, and that people whose rent is unaffordable are more likely to skip out on their own healthcare,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “There are good reasons to rent temporarily – when you move to a new city, for example – but from an affordability perspective, rents are crazy right now. If you can possibly come up with a down payment, then it’s a good time to buy a home and start putting your money toward a mortgage.”
In Denver and four California metro areas, both renters and buyers can expect to pay more of their income towards either rent or mortgage payments than in pre-bubble years. In another hot marketing like San Jose, renters and buyers should each plan to put about 42% of their incomes towards housing.
Mortgage payments will continue to be affordable even if mortgage rates rise as expected. If rates reach 6% next year, home buyers can still expect to spend 30% or less of their income on mortgage payments in 265 out of 290 (91.4%) of the metro areas Zillow analyzed, and mortgage payments will be considered more affordable as compared to pre-bubble years in 72.1% of metros.
Rents, on the other hand, are already unaffordable compared to historic norms in 77% of metros, and with relatively stagnant wage growth, this likely won’t improve as rents keep climbing.
Thinking about buying a house? Get a head start on the competition and start your loan application today.