The new housing market is here- how affordable is housing near you?

A lot of cities claim to have the most affordable housing. What frustrates me is the lack of comparisons between regions.
Moving choropleth chart that shows the 1998 - 2013 median income in the U.S. by county.
The graph above shows the median housing cost indexed against income by county in the U.S. The animation purposefully moves slowly in order to make comparisons between regions easier. Scale ranges from dark blue (lowest) to dark red (highest) where the darkest red is ~9x dark blue. I do have a confession to make. I actually created this chart before I created the charts for median income or median house price that I previously posted. But these other charts were so interesting that they each deserved their own precursor analysis.


The ~2007 housing collapse yielded analysis from a multitude of sources. With all of these analyses two things have continued to frustrate me. First, most analyses seem overly complicated and yet fail to show regional variation. Second, I am disappointed with the ambivalence that analysts show towards market recovery. First I will show differences by region (actually by county) for each year since 1998. Then I will argue that the housing market has largely recovered.


But first, let's examine the primarystory behind the housing collapse. It's roughly 2000. The country has survived fears of Y2K and the banks, in an effort to remain competitive, provide increasingly lenient mortgages. This created artificially high demand for housing. But before you go off trying to incarcerate the bankers, the realtors also encouraged the increasing housing costs. The result of these forces was historic house prices. During this time the overall income actually continued to grow at its normal pace (except for a few special regional differences).

6 YR BEFORE
PEAK HOUSING
6 YR AFTER

The 2000 housing Index 6 years prior to national peak.The 2006 housing index at peak is substantially higher than it was in 2000.The 2012 housing index 6 years after national peak returns to that of 6 years prior.

Now it's 2006. No one realizes it, but the housing market has peaked. At about this time, several exceptional loans that banks had made began to fail. Banks now had to be more particular about loans. This caused the demand to shrink nearly instantaneously. All of the sudden there was artificially high supply and housing prices began to drastically fall. People under water on their mortgages began to default and the cycle perpetuated itself until the market crashed.


Fast forward to 2012 and now the market appears to be slowly returning to its normal levels. While the market has approached its original levels, the relative cost of housing by region is different than it was 12 year prior. How does your area look?
The 2012 housing index 6 years after national peak returns to that of 6 years prior.
Several factors such as unemployment rates, foreclosure rates are absent in this analysis. Surprisingly neither of these were particularly easy to capture. Perhaps someone has a source to data for these rates. This analysis also needs to be stratified by social economic status, but these data are largely private and housed within various silos such as Census, Tax, Property, and Labor statistics.
Data Sources: Income, Housing Prices

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