It may be a double-edged sword, but Michigan is surely in a position to promote housing affordability as a chief selling point in luring new residents to the state.
A study by the financial news website howmuch.net found that the ability to purchase an average Michigan home requires an annual salary of just $40,800. Only West Virginia and Ohio rate more favorably in terms of affordable homes.
Of course, that also means that Michigan’s housing market conditions rank below traditionally low-income states like Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The How Much site reports that, in much of the country, the housing market has not only recovered its pre-recession levels, but some observers worry about another housing bubble. Housing prices are on the rise, thanks in large part to extremely tight inventory in many states.
Based on average prices and a standard 10 percent down payment, the states with the most expensive housing are Hawaii, Washington, D.C., (which was included as a separate, 51st real estate market), California, Massachusetts and Colorado. Salaries needed to buy average homes in these five areas range from $100,000 to $153,000.
The states with the cheapest housing are West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas and Missouri. The income needed to purchase a typical home in these states ranges from $38,000 to $42,000.
The report cautions that average housing prices can vary dramatically in different areas of each state. For example, housing in the Brooklyn borough of New York City is far more pricey than in upstate New York.
Similarly, I would suspect that the average Michigan price ($160,000) is dragged down by the shockingly low values in many areas of the city of Detroit. Much of the northern Michigan housing market has also lagged significantly in recent years due in part to a lack of jobs and middle-class incomes.
Yet, in the Detroit area suburbs, not only has the housing market recovered substantially, newly built homes are selling for top dollar as soon as (or before) construction is completed. Even modest starter homes are selling quickly and these sales sometimes involve bidding wars.
On a national scale, one curious finding by How Much is the geographical divisions across the U.S. landscape. In the Northeast and on the West coast, only upper middle class families can afford an average home. At the same time, workers in the heavily populated eastern section of the nation have an easier time affording a house than in the vast western states, despite the significant availability of land throughout the area west of the Mississippi River.
FYI: The How Much calculations relied upon mortgage interest rates that vary from 4 to 5 percent in each state, depending on the market. In addition to assuming a 10 percent down payment, the site’s researchers also followed the standard advice from financial advisors that the cost of a housing purchase should not exceed 30 percent of the buyer’s gross income.