Housing & Transportation >> Affordability >> Affordability Gap Trend

The housing affordability gap has decreased since 2007.

Households that pay a high percentage of their income for housing have little left for other necessities. The quest for affordable housing (costing less than 30% of income) can mean moving far from family, friends, work, school, and childcare arrangements. People who live in unaffordable housing may scrimp on food and forego necessary healthcare and medications. 

The housing affordability gap is the difference between the median home sales price ($363,500 in 2010) and the average price that a median-income family can afford to pay for a house ($285,350 in 2010).

  • Between 2000 and 2007, home prices increased an average of 7.1% per year, while median household income increased only 3.7% per year. After peaking in 2007, house prices started to drop, while median household income rose for another year. This reduced, but did not eliminate, the housing affordability gap for median-income home buyers.
  • Generally less expensive than houses, condominiums make up an increasing percentage of the King County housing market, and reached 20% of sales in 2010. At that time, the median sale price for a condo was $260,000, compared to $394,000 for a single-family detached house. The 2010 median price for all homes, including condos, was $363,500.