In “A Timeline of Affordability: How Have Home Prices and Household Incomes Changed Since 1960?” Clever Real Estate summer associate Eylul Tekin has examined Census data from 1960 to 2017 on home prices, rents, and household income to determine how the attainability of single-family home ownership has changed over time in America.

With this data adjusted for inflation, Tekin has found that while median home prices have risen 121% nationwide since 1960, the median household income has only risen 29%. At the same time, median gross rent has risen by 72%, or more than twice the growth of adjusted incomes.

Not only is it harder now for Americans afford a home, it’s also harder for renters to save up for a down payment. However, some regions remain more affordable than others – and inland cities tend to have lower price-to-income ratios than their coastal counterparts.

According to City Lab, a home market is considered “healthy” when its price to income ratio – or median home price divided by median income - is at or below 2.6. The national price to income ratio has risen from 2 in the 1960s to 3.6 in 2017 – showing that over three and a half years of median household income is necessary to buy today’s median home. In addition, of the nation’s 100 most populated areas, only 16 have a price to income ratio of 2.6 or below.

In the West, the price to income ratio rose from 2.1 in 1960 to 4.9 in 207. Median home prices rose 195% over this period, or 7.5 times faster than the median income, which rose 26%. This vast difference in growth rates and home may be driven by coastal metros, according to Tekin. In the 1960s, the price-to-income ratios for San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Denver all sat below 2.6. The ratios began to expand in the 1980s, reaching a peak of 9.2 for San Francisco and 8.8 for Los Angeles in 2008. In 2017, these metros’ price to income ratios remain similar to those of a decade ago – 8.8 for San Francisco and 8.4 for Los Angeles.

As of 2017, the Northeast is considered the second-least affordable region, with home price growth 4.2 times more rapid than household income growth. The price to income ratio in this region grew from 2.1 in the 1960s to 3.7 by 1990, then rose to its peak at 4.6 in 2008. The financial crisis has scaled back prices in this region over the past decade, down to a price to income ratio of 4.0 in 2017.

Median home prices in New York City have risen by 184% since the 1960s, with only a 54% increase in median household income. While home prices in this metro did fall 24% between 2010 and 2017, the metro remains highly cost burdened, with a 5.8 cost to income ratio. Inland metros in the Northeast are observed to be somewhat more affordable than coastal counterparts; Albany, N.Y. has a cost to income ratio of 3.2, while Pittsburgh, Penn.’s is 2.6.

While price to income ratios remained close to 2.6 in the South between 1960 and 2000, the discrepancy between home prices and household income has been rising since the 2000s. Between 2000 and 2017, while incomes rose only 2%, the home price growth rate nearly doubled, with a 75% increase in the average home price.

In 2000, the growth rate difference between home prices and household income was 17% in Charlotte, N.C., Columbia, S.C. and Oklahoma City, Okla., respectively. By 2017, these growth rate differences had risen to 66%, 56%, and 82%. However, despite discrepancy in growth rates, these cities’ price-to-income ratios are 3.2, 3.0 and 2.8 respectively, close to the 2.6 average.

With an overall price to income ratio of 2.9 in 2017, the Midwest is the only region in the U.S. where price to income ratios land close to healthy levels. Median home prices have grown by 82% across the region since the 1960s, while median household income rose by 19%. From 2000 to 2017, median home prices rose 29%, while median household income fell 1%.

In the 1980s, Tekin notes that household incomes were actually rising faster than home prices in the St. Louis, Mo. and Des Moines. While this pattern had flipped by the early 2000s, the divide between incomes and home prices is still below the national average: 2.8 in St. Louis and 2.7 in Des Moines.