Opening the door to wealth

Houston unlocks fifth-highest growth rate in U.S. for middle-class homeowners

Houston unlocks fifth-highest growth rate for middle-class homeowners

Money stacked next to a house
If you own a home in Houston, you're really getting your money's worth. Photo by Sawitree Pamee/EyeEm, Getty Images

The ranks of middle-class homeowners in the Greater Houston area grew at an impressive rate from 2010 to 2020, according to a new study.

Among middle-income housing markets with at least 50,000 more middle-income, home-owning households during the 10-year period, the Houston area tacked on 52,716 of these households, says the study released by the National Association of Realtors. That puts Houston ranked fifth overall in the U.S.

Houston is also booming in another area. Looking at the amount of housing wealth created for the middle class from 2010 to 2020, Houston’s total was $51.5 billion, according to the study.

Elsewhere in Texas, Austin ranked second in growth of middle-class homeowners with 61,323 of these households, says the study. Austin ranked second in that regard, preceded only by Phoenix (103,690 additional households). Next in line was the Nashville metro area (55,252 additional middle-income, home-owning households from 2010 to 2020), followed by fourth-ranked Dallas-Fort Worth (53,421).

Well behind those standout metros was 32nd-ranked San Antonio, which saw the addition of 12,922 middle-income, home-owning households from 2010 to 2020.

“Middle-income households in these growing markets have seen phenomenal gains in price appreciation,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, says in a news release. “Given the rapid migration and robust job growth in these areas, I expect these markets to continue to see impressive price gains.”

Among middle-class homeowners in big and small areas alike, housing wealth rose $2.1 trillion from 2010 to 2020, with the number of middle-income, home-owning households expanding by 980,000.

“Owning a home continues to be a proven method for building long-term wealth,” Yun says. “Home values generally grow over time, so homeowners begin the wealth-building process as soon as they make a down payment and move to pay down their mortgage.”

Nationally, a typical U.S. homeowner who bought an existing single-family home 10 years ago at the median sales price of $162,600 is likely to have accumulated $229,400 in housing wealth, the study says. Of that gain, 86 percent is tied to price appreciation.

“Homeownership is rewarding in so many ways and can serve as a vital component in achieving financial stability,” says Leslie Rouda Smith of Plano, president of the National Association of Realtors and a broker associate at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate in Dallas. “Now, we must focus on increasing access to safe, affordable housing and ensuring that more people can begin to amass and pass on the gains from homeownership.