There is a growing disparity in American’s housing market. While housing prices are soaring, people’s ability to pay those rising prices is not. Our team of industry analysts found that over the last decade, the median price of a home is up nearly 70%. The median income, however, is up less than 30% over the same time period. In dollars, that’s a $129,000 increase in housing costs compared to a $14,695 increase in income.

Key findings:

  • Nevada, Idaho and Arizona have the largest disparities between housing costs and income.
  • Louisiana, Delaware and New York are the only states that saw wages rise faster than housing costs.
  • Median home prices increased from $33,000 to $330,000.
  • Median income increased from $5,000 to $27,000.

Our analysts looked at housing and income data going back to 2012. Housing costs and income varied significantly from state to state. But in almost every state, housing costs grew far faster than income. The column on the far right shows just how much housing costs have outpaced wage growth in each state. The rankings, however, are based on the percentage point difference between the rise in housing costs and median income.

Housing vs. income
Rank State Change in median income since 2012 Change in median home price since 2012 Difference between median income and home price in percentage points Difference between increase in housing costs and increase in wages
1 Nevada 31.6% 150.4% 118.8 $275,724
2 Idaho 27.3% 145.9% 118.6 $298,001
3 Arizona 31.9% 131.2% 99.3 $256,945
4 Washington 26.5% 116.3% 89.8 $399,313
5 Michigan 19.1% 102.3% 83.1 $136,416
6 Utah 29.9% 109.2% 79.3 $332,220
7 Florida 20.8% 99.3% 78.5 $217,340
8 Oregon 29.5% 99.5% 70 $341,942
9 California 41.1% 108.2% 67.1 $554,560
10 Colorado 34.7% 100.4% 65.7 $371,873
11 Georgia 28.8% 88.4% 59.6 $166,020
12 Minnesota 20.7% 74.8% 54.1 $210,407
13 Texas 23.3% 74% 50.7 $163,966
14 New Hampshire 14.9% 61% 46 $260,067
15 Nebraska 19.2% 59.8% 40.6 $132,771
16 Missouri 15.4% 52.5% 37.1 $125,591
17 Tennessee 30.4% 65.6% 35.2 $155,929
18 Wisconsin 20.9% 55.4% 34.5 $151,832
19 Montana 26.8% 60.8% 34 $270,847
20 Maine 19.9% 53% 33.1 $221,076
21 Indiana 24.8% 54% 29.2 $116,397
22 South Dakota 20.5% 49.4% 28.9 $170,467
23 Rhode Island 26.9% 55.7% 28.7 $272,831
24 Oklahoma 12.5% 38.8% 26.4 $88,551
25 North Dakota 15.8% 42% 26.2 $175,423
26 Massachusetts 34.9% 59.8% 24.9 $395,157
27 Wyoming 13% 35.6% 22.5 $197,997
28 Ohio 32.2% 54.5% 22.4 $111,358
29 New Mexico 19.6% 41.5% 21.8 $180,055
30 South Carolina 26.6% 47.9% 21.3 $153,773
31 Iowa 15.4% 36.4% 21 $99,309
32 Kentucky 27.3% 47.3% 20 $109,705
33 Alabama 19% 38.8% 19.8 $109,266
34 Kansas 24.2% 43.2% 19.1 $106,913
35 Virginia 18.3% 37% 18.7 $234,544
36 Maryland 20.7% 37.8% 17.1 $259,262
37 North Carolina 38% 54% 16 $173,659
38 Pennsylvania 22.3% 38.2% 15.9 $153,537
39 West Virginia 12.2% 27% 14.8 $64,150
40 Arkansas 25.5% 39.2% 13.8 $93,048
41 Vermont 13.3% 24% 10.7 $215,999
42 Illinois 33.7% 40.3% 6.5 $153,813
43 New Jersey 28.6% 32.2% 3.6 $296,249
44 Mississippi 25% 28.6% 3.6 $89,208
45 Hawaii 47.7% 47.9% 0.2 $605,898
46 Connecticut 22.7% 22.5% -0.2 $215,167
47 Alaska 18.6% 16.1% -2.4 $212,537
48 Louisiana 30.7% 22.4% -8.2 $128,927
49 Delaware 43.3% 33.2% -10.1 $214,824
50 New York 51.2% 40.1% -11.2 $280,892
-- United States 28.8% 69.7% 40.9 $248,288

Percentage points hide the true increase in the rising cost of homes. We found that since 2012, prices have gone up anywhere from $33,000 to 330,000. The largest increases in housing costs are found almost exclusively in the western half of the United States.

Where housing costs are rising fast
Rank State 2012 median price 2021 median price Change in median price (%) Change in median price ($)
1 Nevada $135,000 $338,000 150.4% $203,000
2 Idaho $146,000 $359,000 145.9% $213,000
3 Arizona $138,000 $319,000 131.2% $181,000
4 Washington $221,000 $478,000 116.3% $257,000
5 Utah $195,000 $408,000 109.2% $213,000
6 California $305,000 $635,000 108.2% $330,000
7 Michigan $96,896 $196,000 102.3% $99,104
8 Colorado $224,000 $449,000 100.4% $225,000
9 Oregon $205,000 $409,000 99.5% $204,000
10 Florida $137,000 $273,000 99.3% $136,000
11 Georgia $121,000 $228,000 88.4% $107,000
12 Minnesota $163,000 $285,000 74.8% $122,000
13 Texas $131,000 $228,000 74% $97,000
14 Tennessee $128,000 $212,000 65.6% $84,000
15 New Hampshire $210,000 $338,000 61% $128,000
16 Montana $204,000 $328,000 60.8% $124,000
17 Nebraska $122,000 $195,000 59.8% $73,000
18 Massachusetts $301,000 $481,000 59.8% $180,000
19 Rhode Island $221,000 $344,000 55.7% $123,000
20 Wisconsin $139,000 $216,000 55.4% $77,000
21 Ohio $110,000 $170,000 54.5% $60,000
22 North Carolina $150,000 $231,000 54% $81,000
23 Indiana $113,000 $174,000 54% $61,000
24 Maine $183,000 $280,000 53% $97,000
25 Missouri $120,000 $183,000 52.5% $63,000
26 South Dakota $154,000 $230,000 49.4% $76,000
27 South Carolina $142,000 $210,000 47.9% $68,000
28 Hawaii $466,000 $689,000 47.9% $223,000
29 Kentucky $110,000 $162,000 47.3% $52,000
30 Kansas $118,000 $169,000 43.2% $51,000
31 North Dakota $169,000 $240,000 42% $71,000
32 New Mexico $164,000 $232,000 41.5% $68,000
33 Illinois $159,000 $223,000 40.3% $64,000
34 New York $252,000 $353,000 40.1% $101,000
35 Arkansas $102,000 $142,000 39.2% $40,000
36 Oklahoma $103,000 $143,000 38.8% $40,000
37 Alabama $116,000 $161,000 38.8% $45,000
38 Pennsylvania $157,000 $217,000 38.2% $60,000
39 Maryland $251,000 $346,000 37.8% $95,000
40 Virginia $227,000 $311,000 37% $84,000
41 Iowa $118,000 $161,000 36.4% $43,000
42 Wyoming $194,000 $263,000 35.6% $69,000
43 Delaware $214,000 $285,000 33.2% $71,000
44 New Jersey $289,000 $382,000 32.2% $93,000
45 Mississippi $105,000 $135,000 28.6% $30,000
46 West Virginia $89,000 $113,000 27% $24,000
47 Vermont $225,000 $279,000 24% $54,000
48 Connecticut $240,000 $294,000 22.5% $54,000
49 Louisiana $147,000 $180,000 22.4% $33,000
50 Alaska $248,000 $288,000 16.1% $40,000
-- United States $185,000 $314,000 69.7% $129,000

So with the rise in housing costs, just how long would it take you to pay for the median home in each state? With no other expenses, it would take you around two and a half years to pay for the median home in West Virginia and eight and a half years to pay for the same home in Hawaii.

Change in median income since 2012
State 2012 median income Current median income (most recent available as of Feb. 2021) Change in median income (%) Change in median income ($) Years it would take to pay for a home at current price
New York $47,680 $72,108.00 51.2% $24,428 4.9
Hawaii $56,263 $83,102.00 47.7% $26,839 8.3
Delaware $48,972 $70,176.00 43.3% $21,204 4.1
California $57,020 $80,440.00 41.1% $23,420 7.9
North Carolina $41,553 $57,341.00 38% $15,788 4.0
Massachusetts $63,656 $85,843.00 34.9% $22,187 5.6
Colorado $57,255 $77,127.00 34.7% $19,872 5.8
Illinois $51,738 $69,187.00 33.7% $17,449 3.2
Ohio $44,375 $58,642.00 32.2% $14,267 2.9
Arizona $47,044 $62,055.00 31.9% $15,011 5.1
Nevada $47,333 $62,276.00 31.6% $14,943 5.4
Louisiana $39,085 $51,073.00 30.7% $11,988 3.5
Tennessee $42,995 $56,071.00 30.4% $13,076 3.8
Utah $58,341 $75,780.00 29.9% $17,439 5.4
Oregon $51,775 $67,058.00 29.5% $15,283 6.1
Georgia $48,121 $61,980.00 28.8% $13,859 3.7
New Jersey $66,692 $85,751.00 28.6% $19,059 4.5
Idaho $47,922 $60,999.00 27.3% $13,077 5.9
Kentucky $41,086 $52,295.00 27.3% $11,209 3.1
Rhode Island $56,065 $71,169.00 26.9% $15,104 4.8
Montana $45,088 $57,153.00 26.8% $12,065 5.7
South Carolina $44,401 $56,227.00 26.6% $11,826 3.7
Washington $62,187 $78,687.00 26.5% $16,500 6.1
Arkansas $39,018 $48,952.00 25.5% $9,934 2.9
Mississippi $36,641 $45,792.00 25% $9,151 3.0
Indiana $46,158 $57,603.00 24.8% $11,445 3.0
Kansas $50,003 $62,087.00 24.2% $12,084 2.7
Texas $51,926 $64,034.00 23.3% $12,108 3.6
Connecticut $64,247 $78,833.00 22.7% $14,586 3.7
Pennsylvania $51,904 $63,463.00 22.3% $11,559 3.4
Wisconsin $53,079 $64,168.00 20.9% $11,089 3.4
Florida $46,071 $55,660.00 20.7% $9,589 4.9
Maryland $71,836 $86,738.00 20.7% $14,902 4.0
Minnesota $61,795 $74,593.00 20.7% $12,798 3.8
South Dakota $49,415 $59,533.00 20.5% $10,118 3.9
Maine $49,158 $58,924.00 19.9% $9,766 4.8
New Mexico $43,424 $51,945.00 19.6% $8,521 4.5
Nebraska $52,196 $62,229.00 19.2% $10,033 3.1
Michigan $50,015 $59,584.00 19.1% $9,569 3.3
Alabama $43,464 $51,734.00 19% $8,270 3.1
Alaska $63,648 $75,463.00 18.6% $11,815 3.8
Virginia $64,632 $76,456.00 18.3% $11,824 4.1
North Dakota $55,766 $64,577.00 15.8% $8,811 3.7
Iowa $53,442 $61,691.00 15.4% $8,249 2.6
Missouri $49,764 $57,409.00 15.4% $7,645 3.2
New Hampshire $67,819 $77,933.00 14.9% $10,114 4.3
Vermont $55,582 $63,001.00 13.3% $7,419 4.4
Wyoming $57,512 $65,003.00 13% $7,491 4.1
Oklahoma $48,407 $54,449.00 12.5% $6,042 2.6
West Virginia $43,553 $48,850.00 12.2% $5,297 2.3
United States $51,017 $65,712 28.8% $14,695 4.8

Perhaps the most shocking statistic of all, though, is that despite record unemployment and a global pandemic, housing prices rose 10.2% in 2020. The possibilities of remote work could give people a chance to leave high-priced states like California, but as we have seen, this only increases prices in states like Idaho. Owning a home is supposed to be part of “The American Dream.” The question is, is this still a reality for most Americans?

Methodology:

To find which states have the largest disparities between income and housing costs, we looked at median home costs on Zillow, Inc. from 2012 to 2021. Median income per household data from 2012 to 2021 was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau.

States are ranked on the disparity between the rate increase of the median household income from 2012 to 2019 and the difference in median home values from 2012 to 2021. States ranked closer to 1 have a greater disparity between median house value and income.