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Jax Daily Record Monday, May 2, 202204:45 AM EST

The housing market squeeze: Affordability pressured

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The headwinds of rising prices, low supply and surging mortgage rates impact homebuyers.
by: Dan Macdonald Staff Writer

St. Johns is one of 26 counties nationwide where a single-family home has been deemed unaffordable to those making the area’s median income, according to an April 12 study released by Moneygeek.com, a San Francisco-based personal finance and data research website that provides economic data for those managing their own money.

St. Johns joins the counties anchored by Austin, Texas; Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Denver on the list of 26.

In Florida, Colliers County (Naples) was No. 2 and Sarasota County was No. 18.

When the report was researched in fall 2021, St. Johns County’s $392,732 median price for a single-family home was found to be unaffordable to those making the county’s median income of $40,897. 

It placed St. Johns No. 11 with the county led by Boise City, Idaho, taking the No. 1 spot.

At $40,897, a mortgage loan would require 63% of the family’s annual gross income. The ideal target is 25% of gross income.

 

Buyers of a $392,732 home today would need to be able to qualify for a 5.25% mortgage loan, put down 20% and need to have a median income of $90,306. 

That places the monthly mortgage payment at $2,108, according to Doug Milnes, moneygeek.com’s head of data analytics.

The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors March report calculates the median price of a single-family home in St. Johns County at $558,700.

Milnes determined that a family would need an annual gross income of $110,612 to afford a $500,000 home in St. Johns County.

 

he industry’s Housing Affordability Index measures the affordability of a home in an area based on the area’s median gross income, with 100 meaning buyers have the amount to afford a median-price home.

A score of 130 would mean qualifying buyers earn more than 130% of the required income.

A score below 100 means average buyers lack the funds to buy a single-family home in that area.

Currently the index in St. Johns County is 58, down 29.3% from March 2021.

The affordability index in Northeast Florida is 87, down 25.6%.

The last time the region’s Housing Affordability Index was near 100 was in November 2021 when it was 99. That month the index for St. Johns County was 73.

St. Johns County may be an outlier because of the oceanfront homes selling for millions in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Statewide, the Florida Realtors association reports the median price for a single-family house in March was $396,558, which represents a 21.3% increase from March 2021.

The pricing affects how and where people live.

It may be cheaper for St. Johns employees to move to Putnam, Baker or Clay counties, where housing prices can be lower, but those savings could be offset by the price of commuting, thanks to gas prices as well as the costs of auto maintenance and time on the road.

“Restaurants in St. Augustine are finding it hard to find people to work for the wages they are offering. It is hard to work in St. Johns County and live in St. Johns County,” said Victor Ramos, association executive and CEO of the St. Augustine & St. Johns County Board of Realtors.

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