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Tech cities excel in home equity gains per hour

It’s no secret that owning a home is a good, long-term investment, a way to accumulate wealth over the long haul.

A report released by Zillow on Monday shows just how much of a benefit that homeowners are gaining from their properties.

The typical U.S. homeowner is gaining $7.09 of equity in their homes for every hour they’re at work. That’s only slightly less than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, according to the Zillow analysis.Homes

The report also shows that in about half of the nation’s 50 largest cities, home values are appreciating at a rate per hour that exceeds the hourly minimum wage paid in those cities.

The differential between per-hour equity gains and the minimum wage is far more pronounced in booming tech cities like Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose, California, however.

In San Jose, for instance, homeowners are gaining $99.81 of equity for every working hour, much more than $13.50 minimum wage for the city.

Seattle homeowners are making $54.24 per working hour in equity gains while San Francisco homeowners are making $60.31 per hour through home appreciation.

Homeowners in some of these areas are making more money off their home investment than if they’d worked a job paying a six-figure salary, said Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas, in the news release.

The downside is for all of the people who haven’t purchased a home. Median rent in the U.S. is 3 percent higher than it was a year ago, according to Zillow. And home values across the U.S. are up 8 percent annually.

That means that renters are likely finding it more and more difficult to save enough money for a downpayment.

The typical American homeowner has about 40 percent of their wealth tied up in their home, according to Zillow.

Homeowners across the U.S. are benefiting from the hot housing market, according to Zillow. Home values in New York, Las Vegas and Nashville have been appreciating $6 or more per hour than the city’s hourly minimum wage level.

Zillow notes this isn’t happening in every city. Portland homeowners, for instance, are gaining just $1.29 per hour in home equity. That’s far less than the city’s minimum wage of $11.25 per hour. 

Oklahoma City homeowners actually saw a decline in home values, meaning they lost about $1.29 per working hour on home equity over the past year. New Orleans homeowners lost 81 cents of home equity per working hour.

Jim Davis is editor of Scotsman Guide’s Residential Edition. Reach him at


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