Listing the 10 Most ‘unaffordable’ Cities in America

Buying a home in the U.S. is currently expensive. Half of the people looking to buy a home say they can’t afford the initial payment and closing costs for a new property.

However, not all cities are equally affordable. A recent study by Creditnews Research ranked the largest cities in the United States based on the percentage of neighborhoods that the average married couple can afford financially.

Creditnews used the median income for married households to create its ranking. This helped them determine the percentage of neighborhoods that are unaffordable. This figure was compared to the average value of a home in each neighborhood. If the monthly mortgage payment was more than 25% of a couple’s household income, the area was considered unaffordable.

Out of the 10 cities with the least affordable neighborhoods, four of them are located in California. Los Angeles and San Jose, two cities in California, were discovered to be completely unaffordable for the average married couple household.

Los Angeles, also known as the city of angels, ranked first in the U.S. for having the highest percentage of neighborhoods that are unaffordable.

“Los Angeles has always been very expensive, but what we’re seeing now is that the prices of houses and the overall cost of housing are increasing much faster than people’s incomes,” says Sam Bourgi, a Senior Analyst at Creditnews Research, in an interview with CNBC Make It. He said that the pandemic made the already bad affordability situation in the entertainment industry’s capital even worse.

“Many people who live in Los Angeles and the nearby area are now spending a larger portion of their income on housing each month,” he said.

The median household income in Los Angeles was $83,411, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2022. The household income needed to afford an average monthly mortgage of $5,932 in the California city is $237,281. However, the mentioned amount is more than $150,000 less than that, according to a 2023 Redfin report.

However, there is some good news. The study discovered that cities in the Midwest, Rust Belt, and certain areas of the South still offer a lot of affordable options. Cleveland, Ohio, and Memphis, Tennessee, did not have any neighborhoods that were unaffordable for the average married couple.

“There are markets that are affordable,” Bourgi said. “You need to consider if you’re willing to relocate because there are areas that are not usually considered attractive by most people.”

Also Read: New Study Finds the Loneliest City in Colorado

U.S. Cities With Highest Unaffordable Neighborhoods

  • Los Angeles
  • St. Louis
  • Boston
  • San Jose
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • New York City
  • Miami
  • Nashville
  • Richmond

According to Creditnews Research, St. Louis, Missouri is ranked as the second most unaffordable housing market for the average married couple household. The report discovered that in 2024, all of Mound City was too expensive for the average family to afford.

“According to Bourgi, the low supply of available homes is causing people to hold onto their homes, which in turn affects affordability.” The average value of homes in Saint Louis is $174,341, which has increased by 6.1% in the past year, according to Zillow.

St. Louis has a variety of different types of jobs and is the headquarters for seven very successful companies and over a dozen other very successful companies.

The Greater St. Louis area has big universities where researchers work. It also has fun places for families to visit, like the Saint Louis Zoo and a big park called Forest Park that covers 1,300 acres.

Boston, Massachusetts is ranked number 3 on the list. All of the city’s neighborhoods are unaffordable for the average married couple.

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