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Homeownership becomes an elusive dream as affordability tumbles

October 23, 2013

Two kids. A dog. A new car. All of these are painted into the picture of the American dream, but one element is slowly fading out of the picture: a home.  

Currently, the median-income household can only afford the average priced home in eight of the 25 largest metropolitan areas, significantly lower than 14 out of 25 last year, the latest Bankrate report found.  

As home prices continue to rise out of reach, household income has failed to maintain a similar rise.

Home prices surged nearly 16% over the past year in 25 cities, while income increased a mere 3%. Then, on top of rising home prices, the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage jumped from 3.7% to 4.43%, which added an additional $84.50 to the average monthly payment on a $200,000 mortgage.

"The simple fact is that the very small improvement Americans have seen in their paychecks hasn’t kept pace with a jump in home prices and mortgage rates," said Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com.

Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Detroit and Pittsburgh ranked as the most affordable metropolitan areas.

Meanwhile, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and San Francisco scraped the bottom of the list, posting the worst affordability levels in the nation.

HousingWire recently published an article that said the average household can afford to live in at least 80% of the homes on the market.  

The article quoted Jed Kolko, chief economist with Trulia, saying:

"For the middle-class today, homeownership is well within reach in some parts of the country, but in others, it’s more of a pipe dream than the American Dream. Even after taking income differences into account, homeownership affordability varies hugely across the country."

But, there's hope. If you choose to venture out to the Midwest, the city of Akron, Ohio, is ranked as the most affordable housing market in the nation, with 86% of the homes for sale deemed as affordable.

Owning a home is still feasible, but it's highly dependent on one key question: where do you want to live?

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