15 metros where builders can’t afford homes

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Construction Coverage.

After slowing at the beginning of the pandemic, the construction sector has been pushed back by the boom in the housing market.

Construction employment reached 7.7 million in August, surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels and nearly matching the peak of construction employment in 2006. With the signing of President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the long-term outlook for the construction industry is: look optimistic too.

Although inflation has moderated somewhat, it is still at a high level. Average weekly wages for full-time construction workers in April were $887 after adjusting for inflation. That’s a 12% drop from October 2020, when real wages peaked at $1,012, according to Construction Coverage.

Rising demand for homes coupled with record low mortgage rates, telecommuting and stimulus payments coupled with low inventory has caused home prices to skyrocket. Rising housing prices in many cities mean that workers who build homes often can’t afford them, assuming workers spend no more than 30% of their income on housing.

To find the metropolitan areas where construction workers must work the longest hours to afford a home, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed the latest data. Here are the US metropolitan areas where construction workers must work the longest hours to afford a home. The methodology section at the end has the sources of these data.

15. Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

Apartments in Nashville, Tennessee
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 70:
  • Average hourly salary. $22.01
  • Average house price. $457,360
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 1993 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 65.6%

14. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

Homes in Phoenix, Arizona
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 70:
  • Average hourly salary. $23.02
  • Average house price. $478,985
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 2088 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 64.4%

13. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida

Mansion in Orlando, Florida
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 71:
  • Average hourly salary. $18.82
  • Average house price. $399,709
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 1742 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 61.9%

12. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

Downtown San Bernardino, California
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 71:
  • Average hourly salary. $27.82
  • Average house price. $585,817
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 2553 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 64.1%

11. Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California

Homes in Sacramento, California
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 71:
  • Average hourly salary. $29.23
  • Average house price. $615,712
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 2683 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 61.2%

10. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH

Nashua, New Hampshire
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 73:
  • Average hourly salary. $30.22
  • Average house price. $661,141
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 2881 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 61.7%

9. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Arlington, Virginia
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 76:
  • Average hourly salary. $24.63
  • Average house price. $555,266
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 2420 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 63.9%

8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

Tacoma at night
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 79:
  • Average hourly salary. $33.18
  • Average house price. $781,617
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 3407 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 60.2%

7. Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City, Utah Homes
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 87:
  • Average hourly salary. $23.29
  • Average house price. $606,689
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 2644 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 68.2%

6. Austin-Round Rock, TX

Row houses in Austin, Texas
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 88:
  • Average hourly salary. $22.20
  • Average house price. $582,073
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 2537 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 58.6%

5. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

Homes in Denver, Colorado
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 89:
  • Average hourly salary. $24.00
  • Average house price. $638,061
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 2781 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 64.8%

4. San Diego-Carlsbad, California

Carlsbad, California
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 105:
  • Average hourly salary. $29.02
  • Average house price. $907,871
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 3957 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 53.9%

3. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California

Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com
  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 108:
  • Average hourly salary. $29.08
  • Average house price. $933,282
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. $4068
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 48.7%

2. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California

Hayward, California
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 139:
  • Average hourly salary. $35.14
  • Average house price. $1,458,909
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 6358 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 55.0%

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

Homes in San Jose, California
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  • Weekly hours are needed to buy an average-priced house. 152:
  • Average hourly salary. $35.70
  • Average house price. $1,619,785
  • Monthly mortgage payment for an average priced house. 7060 dollars
  • The overall rate of home ownership. 56.6%

The methodology

Product manager
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To find the metropolitan areas where construction workers must work the longest hours to afford housing in their city, Construction Coverage researchers analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Employment and Wages Statistics, U.S. Census. Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey and Zillow’s most recent Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI), a typical measure of home value.

To improve consistency, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

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