Central Florida wage increases have not been enough to help with home affordability, data says

Despite recent wage increases throughout Central Florida, home affordability in the region has not been this bad since 2007.

That’s according to data from an Attom report on home affordability nationwide. In fact, when controlling for the annualized wages, home affordability in the Orlando metro has been worse than the historical average since late 2021.

“The U.S. housing market has done an about-face following a downturn that threatened to usher in an extended period of flat or falling prices. With that has come another blow to how much house the average worker around the country can afford,” Attom CEO Rob Barber said in the report.

Below is a graph of the affordability index for Central Florida counties each quarter since 2005.

An index of 100 is equivalent to the historical average of affordability. An index higher than 100 means the county is more affordable than the historical average, and an index below 100 is less affordable than the historical average.

With indexes currently near the high 60s, the Orlando metro has not reported this low since fourth-quarter 2007. Central Florida is not alone when it comes to residents being able to afford homes, as all reported counties in the Sunshine State are performing poorly on the affordability index. Of the counties reported, the Miami metro, Clay, Sumter, Leon and Okaloosa counties had the highest indexes, and all still reported as less affordable than the historic average.

Below is a map of several Florida counties’ affordability indexes in second-quarter 2023.

Even though our homes are cheaper than Miami, the index ranks Orlando’s metro lower, as Central Florida currently has the lowest median wage of major metros in Florida. However, when comparing adjacent counties, Seminole, Orange and Lake fare slightly better due to a better home-price-to-wage ratio.

Meanwhile, despite having the lowest median wages among major metros, wages have still increased rapidly over the past few years in the area. Below is a chart mapping annualized wages over the past 17 years.

The Central Florida counties with the highest annualized wages are also the counties with the most expensive homes. The trend of higher wages has grown at a similar rate to the median home price in the area. Below is a graph charting the median home prices in Central Florida counties each quarter.

“Whether this is just a temporary blip amid this year’s peak buying season or a sign of another extended price surge is anyone’s guess. But any predictions of a market demise were certainly premature – and house hunters are feeling the pinch,” Barber said.

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