Ask anyone searching for a home to buy or an apartment to rent in the Washington area whether this region is affordable, and you’re likely to hear a resounding no. But in a recent analysis by Zillow, homeowners in metropolitan Washington have the most money left over after paying their mortgages.

The analysis ranks metro areas by comparing the median gross income and the median mortgage payment. In other words, renters and homeowners who rank high have so much left over after paying monthly housing costs because they make a lot of money to begin with.

In the Washington area, the typical home buyer spent 19.3 percent of his or her income on mortgage payments. A homeowners with a typical income for the area had $6,970 left over after paying the mortgage, which is $2,618 more than the national average.

Renters in the Washington area typically spend 25 percent of their income on housing. Zillow’s analysis found that renters who earn the median income for the area have $6,478 left over after paying rent, which is $2,663 more than the national average for renters.

Nationally, homeownership became less affordable in 2018 compared with 2017, and renting became marginally more affordable. Homeowners spent an average of 17.5 percent of their income on a mortgage in 2018, up from 15.4 percent in 2017 but below the historic average of 21 percent in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Renters spent 27.7 percent of their income on rent in 2018, down slightly from 28.1 percent in 2017 but higher than the historic average of 25.8 percent.

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