Home Values Appreciated by More Than the U.S. Median Income Last Year

Home brings you the bacon.

That is the astonishing conclusion of an analysis published on Friday by Zillow, which reports that the typical US home appreciated more in 2021 than the median annual salary paid. Owning a home literally beats working for a living: US homes increased in value by $52,667, besting the median pretax income of $50,000.

If you’ve been following news about the housing market (or God help you, participating in it) this may not come as a surprise. But it does provide an irresistible one-line summary of the state of American society in 2021: the vital importance of housing wealth, the triumph of capital over labor, the pervasive sense of declining social mobility, the extent to which certain parts of the country have become de facto gated communities. In San Diego, for example, home values ​​jumped by an average of $160,000 last year. You read that right. That’s three years’ worth of the city’s median wage, before taxes.

And it wasn’t just California, though of course the Homeowner Republic led the way in home price growth last year. Owning a home also paid more than working in other Western metros like Portland, Denver, and Boise; Sun Belt cities like Dallas, Tampa, and Charlotte; and Northeastern metropolises like Boston and New York.

Zillow’s measure of home value appreciation, by the way, only counts units priced near the middle of the pack. America’s landed gentry is doing well.

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