What Median Home Prices Would Look Like If the Bubble Never Happened
How much should you be paying for a home? The answer is easy to calculate if you understand the connection between median home prices and median incomes.
Historically, median home prices and median incomes have always shared a close relationship. From the mid-1970s to 2001, the historical ratio of median housing value vs. median household income was consistently between 2.6 and 3.0.
What this essentially means is that median home prices were (on average) 2.8x the median household income for the last 30 years. Using this 2.8 formula, it is very easy to estimate what median home prices would be if the most recent bubble never happened.
Median Home Prices by Region
|Region||Current Median*||What the Median Should Be||% Difference|
Using the 2.8 formula, it is clear that local bubbles aren't the problem. Median home prices are inflated in every U.S. region. In the West, where the median household income is $52,249, median home prices are more than double what they should be. The situation is similar in the Northeast, where the median household income is $52,057.
Median home prices are not quite as high in the South and the Midwest, where median household incomes are $43,884 and $47,836 respectively. Even so, prices are still 30 percent higher than what they should be in the South and 16 percent higher than what they should be in the Midwest.
California Median Home Prices
|Current Median*||What the Median Should Be||% Difference|
The result is that home prices are 61 percent higher than they should be given California's media household income of $56,645. In some areas of the state, such as San Francisco and Oakland, median home prices are so inflated that they are more than 11 times the median household income.