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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis ranks as the fourth-most affordable city for housing out of the top 50 metros in the United States, that’s according to

From 2019 to 2021, the average national house-price-to-income ratio increased from 4.7 to 5.4, which is a 14.9% increase, more than double the recommended ratio of 2.6. Nearly 90% of major metros have a house-price-to-income ratio that exceeds 2.6.

St. Louis has a house-price-to-income ratio of 2.5 making it the fourth most affordable metro area in the country.

Here is how those numbers have changed since 2000:

Home ValueFamily Income
Data from

Between 2008 and 2021, average national home values soared by 25%, from $298,910 to $374,900. Meanwhile, median household income has scarcely budged, with a modest 8% increase, from $63,902 to $69,178. 

In St. Louis, the average home sales actually saw a slight decrease, dipping about a half a percent. The area’s median household saw a smaller increase than the national number, rising 2.8%

And while rising home values in other metros have helped most homeowners, some cities like St. Louis are still struggling with a high percentage of underwater mortgages. St. Louis tops that list with 12.4% of underwater homes. An underwater mortgage, also known as an upside-down mortgage, is a home loan with a higher principal than the loan is worth. used U.S. Census data to calculate the national median household incomes and new residential home values.

To calculate house-price-to-income ratios for the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas, we used Zillow’s Home Value Index (ZHVI) to estimate home values and estimated family income sourced from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.