I have been watching the local housing market where I live for the past few years as I save for a down payment. A question that has come to mind recently is whether there is any useful interpretation of the ratio of median house price to median income. For example, in the city I am looking to buy (Spokane Valley, WA), the median house price is ~$280k, while the median income is ~$51k, for a ratio of about 5.5. However, somewhere like Cincinnati has a ratio closer to 3.2, and Seattle appears to be >10.

Are these ratios useful for gaining a sense of whether a given RE market may be in a bubble? My gut instinct is that the answer is "not really," judging by the history of prices in places like Seattle and SF, and the fact that rental prices are missing in this analysis (EDIT: as well as mortgage interest rates). But seeing the stark contrast between Cincinnati and Spokane Valley (despite a very similar median income) made me wonder.