Despite sticker shock, new study says D.C.-area homes are becoming more affordable. Yes, really.

It may not look like it if you’re a buyer with sticker shock, but homes in several Washington suburbs actually became more affordable during the past year, according to a new study.

From the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of this year, housing became less affordable in nearly one-fourth of counties across the United States, according to the Q3 2016 Home Affordability Index from ATTOM Data Solutions. Overall, home price appreciation outpaced wage growth in 89 percent of the markets that experienced a decline in affordability.

The analysis, which compared median home prices and average wage data in 414 counties, found the highest number of unaffordable markets since the third quarter of 2009.

But the situation was much better locally. While the District saw a 4 percent decline in affordability, Montgomery County and Arlington County each saw a 5 percent improvement in affordability from third quarter 2015 to third quarter 2016. Fairfax County saw a 2 percent improvement, and Alexandria saw a 1 percent improvement.

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of communications for ATTOM Data Solutions, said in an email that the improvement in those counties is “a sign that affordability constraints are finally putting downward pressure on home prices in those markets.”

Other locations where affordability improved are Marin County in the San Francisco Bay area (1 percent), Santa Clara County in the San Jose area (3 percent) and Kings County in Brooklyn (5 percent).

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