Ask the Econonist: The Great Housing Divergence
McLaughlin spoke to DS News about the trends seen between the most expensive housing markets and the least expensive markets.
What are the trend you are seeing in home values in the most expensive metros versus in the least expensive metros?
The most expensive metros are growing even more expensive than the least expensive metros, so in other words the housing rich are getting richer while the housing poor are getting relatively poorer. The priciest metros were about two and a half times more expensive than the least expensive metros 30 years ago, but now the most expensive metros are about four and a quarter times as expensive. We really are seeing a sharp divergence between very costly housing markets and the least costly housing markets.
Specifically, what trends do you see occurring in the least expensive metros?
The least expensive markets are growing decently but not as much as the other markets. To put it into perspective, those least expensive metros over the last 30 years have only grown by double at best. Homeowners in places like Dayton, Ohio or Greens Point, North Carolina were lucky to double their house value over 30 years. This may sound like a lot, but if you actually adjust for inflation, you really are not experiencing much real gain in home value over those 30 years in those markets. If you contrast that with the most expensive markets (for example, San Francisco, San Jose, and Honolulu), those markets have seen 400 to 560 percent increase in value over 30 years and that is much greater than inflation and almost as much as the stock market changed in that time. It really is quite a difference between those expensive markets and the least expensive market. Another way to look at this as well is if you take the home value gain from the median homeowner in San Francisco over the last 30 years, that is about $900,000. But if you look a 10 of the slowest growing markets combined they only grew by $630,000 so the median homeowner in San Francisco made more on his or her house than all of the median homeowners in the 10 slowest growing markets. These markets include Rochester, Wichita, Fort Worth, El Paso, Memphis, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Greensboro and Dayton. That really symbolizes the divergence in house prices over the last 30 years.