More bad news for house shoppers, especially women.
Median home prices in the Puget Sound area continued to rise in January, and a new report shows men are able to afford more of those homes than women based on median pay.
Silver linings: Prices in Pierce County continue to be lower than those in King County, meaning more affordable homes for everyone.
First, the latest from the Northwest Multiple Listing, which released its latest numbers Monday.
Median home prices in Pierce County for January were at $312,925, up nearly 16 percent from a year ago this time, according to NWMLS.
Median condo prices in the county were at $227,500, up more than 15 percent from last year.
King County’s market prices still are making everyone else look super-affordable. King’s median condo prices for January were $380,000, while its median home prices were at $628,388.
In Seattle proper, median home price was $757,000, surpassing the previous record set last summer.
And, as the prices go up, so do rents.
“What it costs to rent small spaces astounds me,” remarked NWMLS director Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at Re/Max Professionals in Gig Harbor, in remarks Monday accompanying the latest report.
Beeson, citing recent reports on Tacoma’s higher rents, noted: “Investors, because rents are high, compete daily with home buyers, and they often win the deal in the lower priced homes. Because they are buying all cash, they consistently beat out buyers who have to get loans.”
But this cycle may ease, Beeson predicted. “As interest rates rise, the rate of price increases will slow down.”
Real estate website Estately recently crunched the numbers to see whose dollars go further in the real-estate market, men’s or women’s. The formula was based, in part, on median salaries from 2016 Census data and a monthly mortgage payment based on 28 percent of gross monthly income.
Turns out, the gender gap is a factor everywhere, but more so in some locales than others.
In Western Washington, Kent tops the list in the disparity between the number of homes men can afford to buy with median wages versus the number women can buy, followed by Seattle, Burien and Kirkland. Olympia and Tacoma came in at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively.
“It turns out Tacoma has a smaller gender wage gap than Seattle, and this makes a big difference when it comes to home affordability,” according to Candace Ramirez of Estately.
In Tacoma, men earning a median income can afford nearly 39 percent of the houses for sale; women about 24 percent, according to Estately’s figures. This created a difference of men being able to afford about 62 percent more homes on the market with their wages.
In Seattle, men can afford 9.2 percent of the homes; women only 3.7 percent, for a difference of 148.6 percent more homes.
In Kent, the percentage difference was more than 200 percent in favor of men. The least amount of difference in Western Washington was in Bellevue, where the difference was about 11 percent in favor of men.
(If you want to get into the weeds on the math with this, Estately says it arrived at those percentages by calculating the percent of increase from the percent of homes women can afford to the percent of homes men can afford.)
The most equal nationwide among the major metros? Turns out that is Detroit, where men earning median wage can afford 93.6 percent of the area’s homes and women could afford 93.2 percent and a difference of about 0.4 percent in median-wage men’s favor.