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SEATTLE, — Of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, only a dozen are currently more affordablei than they historically have been for both renters and homeowners, as widespread growth in housing costs continues to outpace wage growth. Nationally, U.S. home values rose 6.5 percent year-over-year in July, according to the July Zillow® Real Estate Market Reportsii, while national rents rose 2.8 percent over the same period.

Rental affordability is currently much worse than mortgage affordability, largely because rents didn’t experience the huge drop seen in home values during the recession, and instead have just kept climbing upward. Nationally, renters signing a lease at the end of the second quarter paid 29.5 percent of their income to rent, compared to 24.9 percent in the pre-bubble period. In 88 of the nation’s largest metro areas, renters should currently expect to pay a larger share of their income toward rent than they would have historically.

Thanks mostly to low mortgage interest rates, affordability of for-sale homes looks much better. U.S. home buyers at the end of the second quarter could expect to pay 15.3 percent of their incomes to a mortgage on the typical home, far less than the 22.1 percent share homeowners devoted to mortgages in the pre-bubble days. As of June, home buyers in just six of the country’s 100 largest metro markets analyzed by Zillow were paying a larger portion of their incomes today than historically in order to buy their area’s median-priced home.

But mortgage rates are expected to rise in the coming year. When mortgage rates hit 5 percent, still very low by historical standards, the number of unaffordable metros for homeowners among the top 100 will more than double, to 13. At 6 percent mortgage interest rates, the number of unaffordable metros will almost double again, to 24.

“The affordability of for-sale homes remains strong, which is encouraging for those buyers that can save for a down payment and capitalize on low mortgage interest rates. But the health of the for-sale market is directly tied to the rental market, where affordability is really suffering” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “As rents keep rising, along with interest rates and home values, saving for a down payment and attaining homeownership becomes that much more difficult for millions of current renters, particularly millennial renters already saddled with uncertain job prospects and enormous student debt. In order to combat this phenomenon, wages need to grow more quickly than they are, particularly for renters, and growth in home values will need to slow.”

The median annual income nationwide was $53,216 as of the end of the second quarteriii. But according to the Census Bureau, homeowners and renters make drastically different salaries – homeowners make $65,514 per year, while the typical renter in the U.S. makes just $31,888iv.

In July, median U.S. home values rose 0.2 percent from June, to a Zillow Home Value Indexv of $174,800, the slowest monthly pace of appreciation since February 2012. Looking ahead, for the 12-month period from July 2014 to July 2015, national home values are expected to rise another 2.7 percent to approximately $179,489, according to the Zillow Home Value Forecastvi.

About Zillow, Inc.

Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) operates the largest home-related marketplaces on mobile and the Web, with a complementary portfolio of brands and products that help people find vital information about homes, and connect with the best local professionals. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. Dr. Humphries and his team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Zillow also sponsors the bi-annual Zillow Housing Confidence Index (ZHCI) which measures consumer confidence in local housing markets, both currently and over time. The Zillow, Inc. portfolio includes®, Zillow Mobile, Zillow Mortgage , Zillow Rentals, Zillow Digs®, Postlets®, Diverse Solutions®, Agentfolio®, Mortech®, HotPads™, StreetEasy® and Retsly™. The company is headquartered in Seattle., Zillow, Zestimate, Postlets, Mortech, Diverse Solutions, StreetEasy, Agentfolio and Digs are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc. HotPads and Retsly are trademarks of Zillow, Inc.

i Zillow determined affordability by analyzing the current percentage of a metro area’s median income needed to afford the rent or the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home or apartment, and compared it to the share of income needed in the pre-bubble years between 1985 and 1999. If the share of monthly income currently needed to afford the median-priced home or apartment is greater than it was during the pre-bubble years, that area is considered unaffordable for typical buyers or renters.

ii The Zillow Real Estate Market Reports are a monthly overview of the national and local real estate markets. The reports are compiled by Zillow Real Estate Research. For more information, visit The data in Zillow’s Real Estate Market Reports are aggregated from public sources by a number of data providers for 928 metropolitan and micropolitan areas dating back to 1996. Mortgage and home loan data are typically recorded in each county and publicly available through a county recorder’s office. All current monthly data at the national, state, metro, city, ZIP code and neighborhood level can be accessed at and

iii Median household income was computed using the latest available data from the U.S. Census Bureau: Current Population Survey, chained forward using the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index to the second quarter of 2014.

iv Data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 American Community Survey.

v The Zillow Home Value Index is the median estimated home value for a given geographic area on a given day and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums and cooperatives, regardless of whether they sold within a given period. It is expressed in dollars, and seasonally adjusted.

vi The Zillow Home Value Forecast uses data from past home value trends and current market conditions, including leading indicators like home sales, months of housing inventory supply and unemployment, to predict home values over the next 12 months for the nation and for more than 250 markets across the country.

vii The Zillow Rent Index is the median Rent Zestimate® (estimated monthly rental price) for a given geographic area on a given day, and includes the value of all single-family residences, condominiums, cooperatives and apartments in Zillow’s database, regardless of whether they are currently listed for rent. It is expressed in dollars.

SOURCE Zillow, Inc.

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