Cities in the Pacific time zone have the least-affordable housing in the country, and the Central time zone has the most-affordable housing.
Each quarter, NerdWallet calculates the home affordability for 178 metropolitan areas, matching the list of metros for which the National Association of Realtors publishes median home prices. This quarter, NerdWallet sorted the metro areas by time zone, highlighting differences in affordability.
NerdWallet compared median household incomes and median home prices, assuming a 20 percent down payment. A place with high incomes and low home prices is more affordable for buying a home than an area with low incomes and high home prices.
Here are the most and least affordable metro areas in each time zone of the contiguous U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2018, compiled using data from the National Association of Realtors, the U.S. Census Bureau and NerdWallet surveys. (Honolulu, two time zones farther west, has the second-least-affordable homes in the country. NAR’s quarterly price survey doesn’t include cities in Alaska.)
MOST AFFORDABLE: KENNEWICK-RICHLAND
Median home price: $278,400 (national median price: $257,600)
Median household income: $63,617
Principal and interest payment: $1,183 (22.3 percent of median monthly income)
In Kennewick-Richland, a median-income household buying a median-priced house and putting 20 percent down pays 22.3 percent of that income on the mortgage’s principal and interest. That’s roughly the same share of income as the least affordable housing market in the Central time zone.