A shift in Forsyth County’s housing market has made it slightly more affordable for people to buy than to rent, according to a second-quarter report timed for release today by Attom Data Solutions.

Attom calculates the percent of average monthly wages needed to afford a mortgage on a three-bedroom home at the median sales price.

The company said Forsyth homeowners needed to pay 24.4% of an average weekly household wage of $980, or about $956 a month, to afford the county’s median home price of $165,000. Attom listed Forsyth in the “buy over rent” category.

Historically, the average Forsyth County homeowner has spent 23.8% of household wages for the mortgage.

Most real estate agents recommend not dedicating more than one-third of the household income to housing costs.

Affordability for buying was calculated by dividing the annualized house payment for an average-priced three-bedroom property by the estimated median household income.

An estimated home-payment amount factored in a 3% down payment, a 30-year fixed-rate loan with the average interest rate from the Freddie Mac primary mortgage market survey, and related property and mortgage insurance costs and property taxes.

For other metro counties in North Carolina, Attom determined the percent of monthly wages needed for a mortgage based on the median sales price for each market was:

  • Davidson County: 21.6%, or $775 a month, for a $120,000 house.
  • Durham County: 26.7%, or $1,324 a month, for a $240,000 house.
  • Guilford County: 25.3%, or $931 a month, for a $165,000 house.
  • Mecklenburg County: 27.3%, or $1,297 a month, for a $247,000 house.
  • Wake County: 33.8%, or $1,150 a month, for a $277,000 house.

“Despite falling mortgage rates and rising wages, the cost of owning the typical home remains out of reach or a significant financial stretch for the nation’s average wage earners,” said Todd Teta, chief product office with Attom.

“However, a closer look at the data reveals milder-than-usual increases for the spring, and none as severe as in previous years since the recession.

“Therefore, this can help indicate the market may be easing, following similar indicators from recent home-flipping and foreclosure data trends,” Teta said.

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rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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