Homeownership unaffordable for most Americans

by MPA17 Nov 2014
Although the economy has slighly improved from last year, stagnant wages are still weighing on consumers. A median-income household can only afford a median-priced home in 10 of the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a new Interest.com report.

That's actually an improvement from last year, when the median-income household fell short in all but eight of the 25 metros, according to the report.

Baltimore was the biggest gainer over the past year, jumping from 17th-most affordable in 2013 to sixth-most affordable in 2014. Minneapolis and Atlanta swapped the top two spots, with Minneapolis taking the crown this year.

Sacramento experienced the biggest drop in home affordability over the past 12 months, sinking from 12th to 18th in the ranking. But it's still more affordable than the other three California metro areas on the list. Los Angeles (22nd), San Diego (24th) and San Francisco (25th) join New York City among the four least affordable markets.

Overall, median home prices rose 6% over the past year in the 25 metro areas, while incomes rose by about two percent. Contrary to most expectations, mortgage rates eased a bit, which provided homeowners with some relief.

"Low mortgage rates are helping home affordability to some extent, but the key ingredient – which has been missing to this point – is substantial income growth," said Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com. "Millennials, in particular, are struggling to overcome their student loans and save enough money for a down payment."
Most Affordable Metropolitan Areas* Least Affordable Metropolitan Areas*
1. Minneapolis (+23%) 21. Miami (-26%)
2. Atlanta (+22%) 22. Los Angeles (-32%)
3. St. Louis (+20%) 23. New York (-32%)
4. Detroit (+14%) 24. San Diego (-38%)
5. Pittsburgh (+13%) 25. San Francisco (-46%)

*Percentages reflect how much the median household income in a metropolitan area exceeds or falls short of the income required to purchase a median-priced home in that area

Click here to view the full rankings.


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