In each of Connecticut’s three biggest metro areas home prices have risen so far that home is out of reach of the majority of buyers.
To add insult to injury for many would-be homeowners, it also costs significantly more to rent than to buy the median house.
Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released its tabulations of housing affordability last week as part of its annual State of the Nation’s Housing report for 2022. The calculations were based on April home sales data and a 3.5 percent down payment on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan with zero points and a 4.98 percent interest rate – common terms for a first-time buyer.
“At today’s prices, the typical down payment that a first-time buyer would need for [America’s] median-priced home is $27,400,” JCHS senior analyst Alexander Hermann said in a statement accompanying the report’s release. “Without help from family or other sources, this would rule out 92 percent of renters, whose median savings are just $1,500.”
In Fairfield County, aspiring homebuyers would have needed $154,242 per year to buy the median home, compared to the metro area’s median household income of $97,053 according to 2019 Census Bureau one-year estimates, the most recent available to non-researchers due to data collection issues with the 2020 Census.
Those buying in the New Haven metro would need to pull down $90,181 to make the median home there work, even though the median household income for that region is $69,751.
And in Greater Hartford, the median home calls for an $87,697 salary versus the region’s $77,055 median household income.
Comparing the Harvard estimates for the median home’s monthly carrying costs to Zillow’s estimate of April rents in the Bridgeport-Stamford, New Haven and Hartford metros shows the cost of ownership has far outstripped the cost of renting in each area.
The monthly cost to own the median home in Fairfield County worked out to $3,985 once mortgage insurance, property taxes and closing costs were factored in on top of the mortgage payment, compared to Zillow’s typical-rent estimate of $2,641.
In metro New Haven, a new buyer’s monthly costs on the median home were $2,330, compared to the region’s $1,963 rent.
And in Greater Hartford, $2,265 would be needed to keep up with the monthly payments on the median home while April’s rent was only $1,628 per Zillow.
Statewide, JCHS researchers calculated that 48.4 percent of all renters were spending 30 percent or more of their income on housing, with 26.8 percent laying out at least 50 percent of their monthly take.