Gulf County is number one in the state which, depending on one’s point of view, is either a dubious or dandy ranking.
A recent study found that while Gulf County’s median household incomes rose by more than 200 percent between 1980 and 2015, home values rose 2.4 times higher, percentage-wise, during the same period.
In simpler language, home values have gone up at a very high rate compared to incomes values as well compared to state and national home values.
In other words, Gulf County folks, on average, are paying much more for housing than they were in 1980.
“The statistics for Gulf County are among the most interesting I have seen so far for this data,” said Kevin Pryor, an analyst with vHomeInsurance.com. “Such a difference between income and home values indicates Gulf County is experiencing market distortions where houses have recently been prices at a much higher rates compared to income levels.
“This implies that the average person is spending more of their incomes on housing in comparison to the past.”
vHomeInsurance.com is a home insurance, housing and real estate data analysis service that analyzed long-term housing value and income trends between 1980 and 2015 for all counties in the country.
The vHomeInsurance.com study arrived on the heels of another study that found that Florida has a higher share of “cost-burdened renters” than any state in the country.
That study, by Hunt., a rental property search company, found that six of 10 Florida renters spend 30 percent of their incomes on housing, easily the highest rate in the country.
Both studies evolved out of an analysis of Census Bureau data.
According to the U.S. Census, in 1980, the median household income in Gulf County was $12,089. For the country that number was $16,841 and for Florida it was $14,675.
In the same year, the average home value in Gulf County was $20,600; in Florida it was $45,300 and in the country $47,300.
As of 2015, the most recent figures available, county median home values had grown 592.72 percent, to $142,700, well out-pacing growth of home values in the state (250.99 percent) and country (277.59 percent).
Home values in the county out-paced national trends by 315 percent.
And in growth of median household income, Gulf County rose to $41,788, an increase of 246 percent; in the state household incomes grew 224 percent to $47.507 and for the nation the growth was 220 percent to $53,889.
The growth of home values in Gulf County, therefore, was 2.4 times that of household income growth over that period; for the country home values grew 1.3 times household incomes.
For an individual county in Florida that was the largest ratio of disparity in the growth markers.
Another comparison: the compound annual growth rate of household income in Gulf County between 1980-2015 was 3.6 percent, just above the 3.4 percent for the state and country.
However, the compound annual growth rate in home values during the same period was 5.7 percent for the county; well above both the 3.9 percent in the country and 3.7 percent in Florida.
According to Pryor, prior economic research has shown a correlation between income levels and housing prices.
The vHomeInsurance.com study is one of the first of its kind to examine state and county trends.
Income levels and housing prices impact home insurance, mortgage rates and also broader societal implication such as political choices, Pryor added.
Pryor cited two key variables and their implications.
When a county or state has slower than national growth rates and house values, the implication could be because of job loss, decline in higher paying jobs and other factors.
When stronger growth in one variable (home values, for example) compared to another variable (household income) it could be due to market distortions where house prices are at a much higher rate compared to household incomes.
If the ratio between those two variables exceeds 1, and it is 2.4 in Gulf County, that implies that the average person is spending much more of their income on housing compared to 1980, Pryor said.