Quarter of Seattle renters have ‘sufficient income' to afford house, analysis shows

Zillow reports that more Americans are renting than at any time in recent history – including those who could afford to buy a home -- likely due to rising prices, down payment hurdles and tight inventory.
 
Seattle is no exception: The Emerald City ranks No. 5 on the highest share of renters who qualify to buy homes.

More than 20 percent of on-market renters have sufficient credit score and income to afford the median home in Seattle, according to a Zillow analysis.

Markets with the Highest Share of Renters Qualified to Buy 

Ranking

Median Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI)

% of Renters with Sufficient Credit Score & Income for Median Home (ZHVI)

% of Renters with Sufficient Credit Score & Income for Median Rental (ZRI)

Homeownership Rate in Metro

San Jose, CA

1

$        957,900

35.6%

35.1%

56.3%

San Francisco, CA

2

$        812,300

26.8%

26.2%

53.2%

San Diego, CA

3

$        512,900

23.6%

23.4%

52.1%

Los Angeles, CA

4

$        572,400

22.7%

22.6%

48.3%

Seattle, WA

5

$        392,000

21.6%

21.3%

59.3%

New York, NY

6

$        386,800

19.4%

19.1%

50.7%

Boston, MA

7

$        394,400

18.2%

17.5%

61.1%

Washington, DC

8

$        368,700

17.4%

17.4%

62.6%

Portland, OR

9

$        330,800

16.8%

16.7%

59.5%

Denver, CO

10

$        338,500

16.2%

16.0%

62.3%

Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) is the monthly median home value in a particular geographical region, last updated in Zillow's June 2016 analysis.

"When faced with hurdles of high prices and low inventory, first-time homebuyers are renting longer than ever before even if they are qualified to buy," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "[Seattle is] among the most competitive places for buyers, and the going isn't any easier for renters – as they are competing against throngs of financially sound applicants with strong credit and high incomes. This is a conundrum for many young people who move to those cities because of their strong job markets, only to find tight inventory and steep competition standing between them and their dream home."

On Zillow's website page for Seattle home prices and values, the median home value in Seattle was listed as $585,400 as of Thursday afternoon.
 
The current home-ownership rate in Seattle is 59.3 percent.