Zillow Study Shows 1 In 3 Homes Are Unaffordable, But Vacation-Home Sales Are Soaring

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger fo Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

In a further demonstration of the socially destructive and ever widening gap between the haves and have nots, we see that the affluent are buying second homes at an ever increasing clip (up 30% last year), while first home buyers recede into the abyss as private equity and Chinese buyers make purchasing a home unaffordable for the average American.

Specifically, a recent study from Zillow showed that more than half the homes in seven major American cities are unaffordable based on historical standards. Those cities are: Miami, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, San Jose and Portland, Ore. Nationwide, it found that 1 in 3 homes were unaffordable. The results seem to back up housing analyst Mark Hanson’s recent conclusion that despite low interest rates, housing is even less affordable than the most bubbly year ever, 2006.

This also appears to be a primary reason behind Zillow now actively pitching its U.S. real estate listing to the Chinese, many of whom are corrupt and looking to launder ill gotten gains.

First, from Housing Wire:

More than half the homes currently on the market in seven major American metros are currently unaffordable for local residents, and one-third of homes for sale are unaffordable by historic standards.


That’s the conclusion from a Zillow analysis of income, mortgage and home value data in the fourth quarter of 2013, which puts to question the regular industry claim that housing is more affordable than ever because of the current price and interest rate levels coming out of the housing crash.


“As affordability worsens, we’re already beginning to see more of the kinds of worrisome trends we saw en masse during the years leading up to the housing crash. These include a greater reliance on non-traditional home financing, smaller down payments and a greater pressure to move further away from urban job centers in order to find affordable housing options,” said Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries. “We’re not in a bubble yet, but we’re beginning to see the early signs of one in some areas.”


Zillow calculated affordability by analyzing the current percentage of an area’s median income needed to afford the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home, and comparing it to the share of income needed to afford a median-priced home in the pre-bubble years between 1985 and 2000.


More than half of homes currently listed for sale in Miami (62.4%), Los Angeles (57.2%), San Diego (55.3%), San Francisco (55.2%), Denver (52.8%), San Jose (50.9%) and Portland, Ore. (50.3%) are unaffordable by historical standards.


Nationally, Zillow found that one-third of homes are currently unaffordable, and in many metro areas, the majority of homes remain more affordable now than they have been historically for buyers making the area’s median income.

Moving along, trite concerns such as housing affordability don’t impact the increasingly small group of people who do have considerable financial resources. For these folks, things have never been better, and they are splurging on second and third homes at an increasingly brisk pace. Don’t forget to send that Christmas card to Benny Bernanke.

For instance, from the Wall Street Journal we find that:

Sales of vacation homes are surging again, the result of rising wealth in higher-income households and renewed confidence in the housing market.


The number of second homes acquired for part-time personal use jumped 30% last year to 717,000 homes, according to an annual survey by the National Association of Realtors. The gain was the largest since the association started tracking second-home sales in 2003.


Although the number of second homes sold last year is well short of the high point of nearly 1.1 million in 2006, last year’s jump signals a rapidly changing sentiment about the value of residential real estate, which just a few years ago was considered a poor investment amid the broad market bust.


The second-home surge also underscores a disparity in the market. More-affluent, move-up buyers trading into their second- or third-generation home have carried the U.S. real-estate market in recent years as would-be first-time buyers have been hobbled by strict mortgage-qualification standards.

That paragraph right above summarizes everything, and will come back to haunt us in a major way.

Even so, “from a macroeconomic perspective, it’s a positive thing,” said David Berson, chief economist for Nationwide Insurance.


“While the benefits of second homes may accrue disproportionately to the upper half of the income distribution, there are a lot of people who build these homes” and benefit from ancillary spending tied to them.

The disconnect from reality in the statement above perfectly demonstrates the complete lack of self-awareness from many at the top.

Now let’s move on to a more futuristic real estate subject, 3D Printing.

I first flagged the incredible potential of 3D printed homes last November in my post: 3D Printing Entire Homes and Neighborhoods May be Just Around the Corner.

It appears much progress if being made and there are stunning reports coming out that a company in China has 3D printed ten homes in less than a day!

It’s tough to tell whether or not this is true, or how much is hyperbole, but it seems obvious to me that such feats will be commonplace in the not too distant future.

You have to wonder what that will do to home prices ultimately. Seems quite deflationary...

From Gizmodo:

This month, architects in Amsterdam started work on the world’s first completely 3D-printed house. It’ll take three years and quite a bit of money to finish. Meanwhile, in Shanghai, a company claims to have printed ten houses with inexpensive industrial scraps in less than a day. What’s the difference?


It depends on your definition of 3D printing. Both projects are using massive 3D printers; in Shanghai, it’s 490 feet long, 33 feet wide, and 20 feet deep. Rather than expensive plastic, though, the Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co is printing with a concrete aggregate “made in part from recycled construction waste, industrial waste, and tailings,” according to the Architect’s Newspaper. Each of these homes costs less than $5,000.


But the biggest difference is that WinSun is printing its houses in pieces, then fully assembling them on site, at least according to 3Ders.org‘s recent report. In Amsterdam, every single room, detail, and piece of furniture will emerge fully formed. This is why some commenters are likely to argue that WinSun’s project isn’t truly 3D-printed.


But let’s not quibble over syntax here. If these claims are true, WinSun is printing an inexpensive, sturdy home in mere hours for very little money.

Absolutely incredible and really encouraging.


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NoDebt's picture

Shocker.  If you have no income, everything is unaffordable.

aphlaque_duck's picture

Hmm, sounds like a price discovery event should be expected.

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

Shit! This is nothing that a new innovative 100 year, interest-only mortgage product can't fix in a jiffy.

fonzannoon's picture

it's a small club, and you ain't in it.

NoDebt's picture

Yeah, but I'm on the waiting list.  I'm sure they'll call any day now.

BKbroiler's picture

Yes, I can only imagine the fine quality and sturdiness of house built in minutes, from scraps.  By the Chinese, none the less...

Yen Cross's picture

 Black Stone/ FireHawk ofloading rentals that were hedged against (dark pool ) off the book loans from 2002-5.

 This shit is so predictable!

CheapBastard's picture

The check is in the mail.

Seasmoke's picture

Ha ! Just wait until the Obamacare bills start coming in next month and then the deductibles invoices in a few more months after that. 


Won't be long before it's 1 in 1.00005 homes are unaffordable. 

SmilinJoeFizzion's picture

Amex just sent my dog another platinum card

Groundhog Day's picture

your so lucky, how did you pull that off....I would max out the card and let them come after the dog to collect

SmilinJoeFizzion's picture

He was pre-approved . I named him Reginald Love

giggler321's picture

You know they do picture cards now.  Upload your own digitial media image and it's printed on the card.  I was declined when I uploaded a the Zero Hedge logo.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Same here; my dog oddly enough LOVES buying guns, gold, and ammo on credit. Good dog! Treat!

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Even better if he uses an EBT card.


nmewn's picture

Even better if we all set up shell companies (and beings/persons/alias') for ourselves.

Why can't it work for us?

If companies and people can be allowed (by law, via lack of enforcement) to abuse "the system" then there isn't really any abuse at all, its just some construct of the state of mind we have, just some ethical thingy in the head, that says it isn't correct to do.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for meee! ;-)

RafterManFMJ's picture

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. - H L Mencken

nmewn's picture

Its time FMJ.

We have, given them every chance to live among us. We have, compromised on our own principles more times than I can count or care to recall, in order to have peace, with them among us.

We've done everything humanly possible, except submit. Which is an impossiblity for you and I to do, our lesser's don't command us, so the black flag is up here.

No quarter.

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I asked my mind. It replied there is no ethical dilemma if one steals back what had been stolen. But,then again, it had been accused of being a mass of conflicting impulses and, therefore, unreliable. So, being naturally cautious, I will leave to you gents the final call.


GMadScientist's picture

Set sail for the Caymans....we're takin' it back, Lads!

Cabreado's picture

The high-end activity is getting too much attention; in the end it can't sustain anything (from any direction), and on the way there is already too tabloid-esque.

Jack Burton's picture

Chinese money has set London on fire and other areas are following. Locals are being priced out of their own nation by Chinese money running from the People's Republic of China. Globalization has been a god send to Britain, what centuries of enemies could not conquer, the lords of finance have taken in a matter of a few decades. Nations and ethnic identities are old hat, it is all global capital now. And this is just the beginning, when the IMF begins it's mass printing of SDR's oceans of unlimited liquidity will flow to the select elite at zirp, while Pay Day Loans rule the lives of the bottom 50%. Serfdom by any other name!

Cabreado's picture

Not so fast.

"Serfdom by any other name!"

Upheaval usurps serfdom in a world that communicates.

W74's picture

Remember when millions of British soldiers died in two wars "defending" their Island from the German "Barbarians"?

Welcome to the third Millennium where 3,000 Black Africans, Middle Easterners, Pakis, and Indians pour into the county...every....single...fucking....day.

Ground at Paschendale is heaving due to excessive grave spinning.

Jack Burton's picture

The older generations knew what was worth fighting for. Today's runners after capital are what Mao used to call them. "Running Dogs". The Running Dogs rule Britain today and they will not stop till it is Hong Kong on the Thames.

Ranting Troglodyte's picture

Apparently 3-D printing is so groundbreaking, it converts Chinese industrial waste into cheap homes (oh, and WTF are "trailings"?)



I see no downside.

effendi's picture

It isn't trailings but tailings, thats the waste material left behind after mining/dredging for gold and other minerals.

That isn't so bad (just gravel, sand other stuff), but I would be concerned how much recycled contaminated waste will be in the mix (like reject drywall, toothpaste, dogfood and anything left over from all the recyclable garbage that western nations send to China for resource recovery).

So the 3D house will ooze formaldehyde, mercury and 101 other nasties.

A house of horrors.

cynicalskeptic's picture

Yeah.... the stuff left over after leaching the gold out with CYANIDE or MERCURY.....perfectly safe to live in (until you die from living there)

There was an old industrial building along the Hudson in Jersey that was bought for conversion to condos.  Turns out they used to make mercury vapor lighting there and so much spilled onto the floor that the concrete was still venting out mercury fumes decades later.  No way to abate it.  Had to tear the place down.   Somehow I doubtit would be an issue in China.

RaceToTheBottom's picture

coincidently, these cities have large REIT programs funded by free money to WS Banksters.....

centerline's picture

As predicted years ago.  International capital flows.  The real fun starts in the US when the flows reverse.

Iam_Silverman's picture

"The real fun starts in the US when the flows reverse."

Yep, I'm saving up to buy my first-ever vacation home.  I am torn between somewhere in the Hunan Province or Andhra Pradesh region.  Decisions, decisions...

Sutton's picture

Chinese want homes near wells so they can drown their daughters.

W74's picture

Instead of killing them they should send them over to the US.  We could use some more 106 average IQ humans, and if in 20-30 years they're breeding with mostly White nerdy kids....well I see that as a good thing.

thamnosma's picture

What a house of cards.   It's only the tipping point which remains a mystery.

Antifaschistische's picture

"This month, architects in Amsterdam started work on the world’s first completely 3D-printed house. It’ll take three years and quite a bit of money to finish. Meanwhile, in Shanghai, a company claims to have printed ten houses with inexpensive industrial scraps in less than a day."


The Industrial Developer Complex will never let this happen.  Our development "requirements", building codes, and zoning mandates and contractor mandates will continue to outlaw affordable housing. 

ParkAveFlasher's picture

3D printing is remarkable to watch, but "what if it doesn't fit"?  You will always need human hands guided by human experience to make human solutions to human challenges.  No amount of technology usurps that rule.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Ask surgeons what they think of biologics, they might have a differing opinion. When we enter an era where we can grow machines & they can self-program, things will change.

GMadScientist's picture

Sure, that's why the bridges being rebuilt in CA are being done by the Chinese, right?

This is America, son; we will gladly lower our standards as the economy and taxbase require.

Yenbot's picture

1/3 unaffordable, 1/3 uninhabitable, 1/3 occupied.

Wait What's picture

3 neighbors just sold homes in my neighborhood for about a half million. 1100 sq ft, w/out even the ocean view i have. less than 25 yrs. ago all these homes were selling around $125k. if you don't earn in the top 20% or inherit property, be prepared to give up your 1st born just to get a mortgage that will take you more than the rest of your life to pay off.

effendi's picture

Wait What

Millions of people do give up their firstborn and that is demographically destroying the West.

The firstborn and second child are not being born due to couples now having to wait to start a family to an age where their grandparents already had their third or fourth child.

Once apon a time boy met girl, got married and started a family before they were 25.

Now they have to finish college, get a crappy job, date for years and perhaps get married at 28-30. Then they both work to 35 and finally (hopefully) be in a position to start a family. 

The couples usually had 3 kids by 30 and by 35 might have popped out another. By 40 they had their mortgage paid off, their kids were well adjusted with a stay home mum and dads job on the assembly line paid them enough to take a family vacation each year. 

So todays couple has 1-2 kids and a mortgage that they hope to pay off by 65. 

Or they remain single and childless (or have one bastard kid somewhere) and live in the family basement.

Wait What's picture

you are correct. most of the 25-35 yr olds i know have to choose: a child or a mortgage? sub-25s? fugget about it! i consider myself lucky for being one of the fortunate few w/out school debt or a mortgage, but I didn't get here w/out sacrifices. 1 or 2 things happen a little differently and i'd be right where all my struggling peers find themselves.

feels like maybe we were all born 4 decades too late to enjoy America's best days.

W74's picture

I feel the same way (hence pissed off rants on ZH).  Did everything right, massive savings, good credit, married a good woman early (no kids) and....still couldn't get a loan for a decent home in an area not turned to shit by the barbarians.

Now that I have a pre-approval for a mortgage....I'm not sure I fucking want one with today's bubble!  Just my luck.  I had hoped to have my first or second child by my age, but you can't do that renting and in a country where employment and the sanity of one's government are unstable.

MontgomeryScott's picture

I seem to recall the term used in the 1970's california boom.

It was 'YUPPIE DINKS'. Young, upwardly mobile professionals ('YUPPIE'), combined with Double income, no kids ('DINKS').

Of course, nowadays, the YUPPIE PUPPIES are doing what their parents did.

I've owned houses, and lost houses. I've slept in cars, and stayed in villas.

In the end, when all is done, you can't take it with you, and you die the same way that you were born (naked and alone). At your funeral, will it be 'That's the asshole that fucked me over to get a promotion, good riddance', or 'I'm sorry to see him go. He helped me when I needed it'?

I liked my last house the best. Started with a plot of bare land, and got to pick everything (from house to well to layout)...

OH10DESERTER's picture

effendi that is the story of my life...the only difference was I had to relocate from the Midwest and my family...cuz they took our jobs...I'm 35 w/ a herniated disk and the thought of picking up my two year old or playing on the ground w/ him makes my sciatic twinge....for the love of god, can we end the fucking fed already.


StychoKiller's picture

Betcha Obamacare covers back surgery...