The $200,000 starter home is going extinct



More than a year ago, Ali Wolf, Zonda’s chief economist, told Fortune the $300,000 starter home was going extinct. At the time, the housing data and consultancy firm found the share of projects under $300,000 was declining all across the country, and so was affordability. 

“We’re creating, inadvertently, a renter society not because of choice but because of force,” Wolf said. Rent isn’t cheap either, even though some predict renting will be cheaper than buying for years. Even so, in Wolf’s mind, $300,000 homes should have been attainable. But everything from the cost of building materials to land availability to the lack of housing to regulation made it so much harder to build affordable homes—and a lot of it stemmed from the pandemic-fueled housing boom.

A Realtor.com report released Thursday seemed to confirm the fall-off in the number of affordable homes. “Over the past several years, the number of homes under $200,000 has gone from around half of all sales to less than a quarter of sales in 2023,” it said, calling the statistic, “stark proof of shrinking affordability across the country.” 

Affordability is shot, that’s no secret; this is just one more indicator of that trend. Home prices skyrocketed during the pandemic: They’re 45% higher now than they were before, according to Zillow, and the typical monthly mortgage payment is 115% higher since that time. And, since there’s not enough homes to go around, prices haven’t really fallen. (There are some metropolitan areas where home prices have declined from a year earlier, but it’s less than a handful—nationally, home prices hit their ninth all-time high in the past year). In any case, the median sales price of houses sold in the country is $420,800, and the average weekly 30-year fixed mortgage rate is 6.95%. 

‘Where all the $200k homes are hiding’ 

There are some signs that home-price appreciation is slowing, and mortgage rates are coming down, but it might not feel fast enough for anyone who wants to buy a home. Still, Realtor.com analyzed listing data from the first week of this month and compiled a list of what it called “affordability havens…where all the $200k homes are hiding.” Let me tell you, not a single one is in sunny California—or even Texas, its cheaper, and sometimes more popular, counterpart. 

  • Lauderdale Lakes, Florida

Median list price: $149,350
Number of listings under $200,000: 239
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 85%

Median list price: $175,000
Number of listings under $200,000: 404
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 70%

Median list price: $138,600
Number of listings under $200,000: 214
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 70%

Median list price: $90,000
Number of listings under $200,000: 1,586
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 64%

Median list price: $161,194
Number of listings under $200,000: 213
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 68%

Median list price: $114,500
Number of listings under $200,000: 98
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 80%

Median list price: $104,000
Number of listings under $200,000: 245
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 64%

Median list price: $143,950
Number of listings under $200,000: 133
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 68%

Median list price: $164,950
Number of listings under $200,000: 153
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 66%

Median list price: $135,475
Number of listings under $200,000: 512
Percentage of listings under $200,000: 61%

Here’s the thing, though: These starter homes might not be $200,000 forever. “These are still some of the most affordable places in the country, but they’ve seen a lot of price growth over the last year or so,” Hannah Jones, a Realtor.com senior economic analyst, said in the report. 

Subscribe to the CFO Daily newsletter to keep up with the trends, issues, and executives shaping corporate finance. Sign up for free.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *