The Pennybacker Bridge west of downtown Austin. ARNOLD WELLS/STAFF

Austin Business Journal Reports, "the Austin-Round Rock metro area became slightly more affordable for homebuyers in 2023, but it’s still much more expensive to own within Austin's city limits than almost anywhere else in the region.

That’s according to recent data from Zillow Group Inc. analyzed by the Business Journals. In each of the metro's ZIP codes, the minimum annual income required to purchase a typical home declined anywhere from 4% to 18% in 2023, as of Nov. 30, compared to 2022, the analysis found. Annual mortgage payments also dropped, while median home values declined at a rate of 1% to 13% across the region.

The Austin Business Journal annually tracks the wealthiest ZIP codes in the metro, so it's already well-known where the wealthiest households in Central Texas tend to plant roots. But the new data pinpoints just how much residents must earn to own a typical home in those ZIP codes. The analysis was based on current median home values, interest rates and an assumed 10% down payment.

Though West Lake Hills’ 78746 ZIP code clocked in as the priciest spot to buy a home — a minimum annual income of over $412,000 is needed to own there, where the median home value is $1.7 million — almost 30 Austin ZIP codes require a six-figure income to be a homeowner. For example, people must earn anywhere from $106,000 in North Austin's 78752 ZIP code to $318,000 in Tarrytown.

Just 10 ZIP codes in the city of Austin can accommodate prospective homebuyers making less than six figures. Those areas were spread throughout the city, from North Austin's Interstate 35 corridor down to the largely rural regions to the south and northeast of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The Zillow data shows the metro’s five northern suburbs — Leander, Liberty Hill, Georgetown, Pflugerville and Round Rock — were on average much more affordable for homeownership than Austin.

Round Rock’s 78664 ZIP code required the least income at $88,000. Liberty Hill was the most expensive of the suburbs — the ZIP code is 78642 — requiring a minimum income of $124,000.

According to the Austin Housing Department, the median family income for a four-person household in Travis County as of June 15 was $122,300. But the cost of homeownership in many pockets of Austin far outpaces that figure, which has many Austinites looking to the suburbs for a lower cost of living. Additionally, the Austin Board of Realtors’ November market data showed that the median price of a home in Austin rose 1% year over year to hit $518,000. Meanwhile, in the surrounding Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays and Williamson counties, the median price of a home ranged from $313,275 to $416,545.

Looking south to Bastrop, Buda, Kyle and San Marcos, home ownership comes at a much lower cost. All of the cities are havens for people making below the six-figure level, the analysis found.

The national housing picture

Nationally, it requires income of at least $100,000 to afford a home in 25% of the more than 23,000 ZIP codes analyzed in the report. By comparison, the median national household income was $74,580 in 2022.

Additionally, there are now 10 ZIP codes where it takes an income of $1 million or more to afford a median-priced home. That's down from 14 in October and 16 a year ago, thanks to dips in both median home values and recent declines in interest rates.

Of the million-dollar ZIP codes, all but Aspen, Colorado's 81656 were found along the coasts. California accounted for half of the top 10."

National data reporter Joanne Drilling contributed.


Source: Austin Business Journal

Written by: Cody Baird

Published: December 28, 2023

Posted by Grossman & Jones Group on


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