Home ownership has long been considered a staple of the American dream. During the pandemic, it has also become a dividing line between the haves and have-nots. As the coronavirus outbreak and rise of remote work pushed Americans to move from the city to the suburbs, those who could afford a single-family home have been able to leverage historically low interest rates to build equity and net worth. Many are doing just that. During 2020, the homeownership rate jumped to roughly 67%, up nearly 3% from a year earlier after remaining largely flat for a decade, according to the Census Bureau.
But high demand for housing — along with a record low supply of homes for sale — has also caused a sharp spike in home prices, shutting others out entirely. The pandemic-induced run on housing has fueled an affordability problem for many of those would-be buyers, despite mortgage rates near the lowest levels ever. Now, homes in many states require a salary larger than buyers' current median income.
Nationwide, the median home price is $346,800. Price appreciation is now outpacing wage appreciation in 90% of housing markets nationally, according to a separate report from Attom Data Solutions, a property database. The median prices of single-family homes and condos are less affordable than historical averages in 63% of U.S. counties, up from 54% a year ago, the report found, based on the income needed to make monthly mortgage, property tax and insurance payments on a median-priced home with a 20% down payment.
Believe it or not, the whole Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is home to more mini-millionaires than the entire population of Plano. In fact, DFW now ranks among the world's top 10 metros for the number of high-net-worth individuals. A new ranking from Wealth-X, which collects and analyzes data about the world's wealthiest people, puts DFW at No. 10 globally for the population of high-net-worth (HNW) individuals, defined as those with a net worth of $1 million to $30 million. (In other words, Alice Walton, Jerry Jones, and Andy Beal are way too rich for this list.)
For 2018, Wealth-X tallied 298,220 HNW individuals in Dallas-Fort Worth, up slightly from 297,935 the previous year. By comparison, the population of Plano was 286,143 in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. DFW is the only Texas metro to appear in Wealth-X's top 10. "With the addition of [the] Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, the U.S. now includes six of the top 10 cities in our ranking," Wealth-X says. Sitting atop the ranking is the New York City metro area, home to nearly 1 million HNW individuals. Elsewhere in the U.S., Los Angeles stands at No. 3, Chicago at No. 6, San Francisco at No. 9, Washington, D.C., at No. 9, and Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 10.
Chances are, you'll find many of DFW's HNW individuals in the region's richest ZIP codes, particularly Highland Park and University Park. Highland Park is No. 9 among the country's wealthiest ZIP codes, and University Park is No. 7, according to a 2018 analysis by Bloomberg. According to data released in 2018 by Charles Schwab's Modern Wealth Index, DFW residents say it takes a net worth of $2.4 million to be considered wealthy and $1.3 million to feel financially comfortable. According to the 2018 Knight Frank City Wealth Index, Dallas ranks seventh globally for the most households (297,970) earning at least $250,000 in 2017, just behind Houston at No. 6 (298,868 households).
Dallas is projected to rank 10th for the growth of households earning at least $250,000, adding 58,575 such households from 2017 to 2022, the index says. By comparison, Houston is forecast to hold down the No. 9 position, adding 71,211 of those households during the same five-year span.