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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 6, 2014 at 10:21 AM

A different look at housing affordability, in two charts

Yes, most West Coast cities have crazy high housing costs and long has been the case. Seattle and Portland once were considered relatively affordable, but no more. Indeed,  housing affordability is a sore spot all over the country. Places with “cheap” rents and mortgages also pay poorly.

It’s a real issue and calls for some creative responses, especially in making city cores affordable and attractive. “Driving to qualify” or pay the rent only adds to sprawl, greenhouse gases and the madness of long commutes.

But here’s another, little discussed aspect of “affordability.” I can show you in two charts:

LABORSHAREfredgraph

WAGESfredgraph

In other words, housing is less affordable because most American workers are making less.

There are many ways to slice this baloney — the bottom three income quintiles have either stagnated or fallen since 1980 while the very top has skyrocketed and inequality has been increasing with every recovery. But an essential part of the discussion of housing affordability is poor pay.


 

Monday Reading: The astonishing story of the Federal Reserve on 9/11 | Daily Kos


 

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Luck of the Irish

For Apple, avoid taxes

Rotten to the core


 

Comments | More in Housing, Income/wages | Topics: Housing affordability, Wages

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