A Median-Income Household Can Only Afford a Median-Priced Home in 14 of the 25 Largest U.S. Metropolitan Areas

Oct 17, 2012, 09:00 ET from Interest.com

CHICAGO, Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A median-income household can only afford a median-priced home in 14 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., according to research released today by Interest.com, a Bankrate (NYSE: RATE) company. Detroit, Atlanta and Minneapolis are the most affordable metropolitan areas and San Diego, New York and San Francisco are the least affordable.

"Despite all of the talk about how homes are more affordable than they have been in decades, buying a home is still a big challenge for many American households," said Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com. "Dealing with rising expenses and stagnant wages is a struggle. Even after years of declining home prices and record-low mortgage rates, median-income households are unable to afford a median-priced home in nearly half of the metropolitan areas that we looked at."

The full survey results are available at: http://www.interest.com/mortgage/news/homes-are-truly-affordable-in-only-about-half-of-major-cities.

Most Affordable Metropolitan Areas*

Least Affordable Metropolitan Areas*

1.         Detroit (+45.32%)

21.       Los Angeles (-12.52%)

2.         Atlanta (+40.00%)

22.       Miami (-12.59%)

3.         Minneapolis (+32.20%)

23.       San Diego (-25.90%)

4.         Phoenix (+23.67%)

24.       New York (-29.71%)

5.         St. Louis (+23.49%)

25.       San Francisco (-32.76%)

*Percentage reflects 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

To determine each rating, Interest.com gathered the median home prices in the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas and calculated how much financing would be required for a buyer with a 20% down payment. They entered that amount and city-specific data on 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rates, median household income, median property taxes, average homeowners insurance costs and average household debt into the "Required Income Calculator" on Interest.com. Finally, they divided the median household income for each city by the income required to finance the median-priced home.

Median Home Price Source: National Association of Realtors, Q2 2012 study of existing single-family homes [Note: Pittsburgh was not included in that study, so September 2012 data from Real STATS was substituted]

30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Rate Source: Bankrate.com, weekly national survey from September 19, 2012 [Note: City-specific data was not available for Portland (Ore.), Sacramento and San Antonio, so the national average was used for those three cities]

Median Household Income Source: U. S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, median household incomes by Metropolitan Statistical Area

Median Property Taxes Source: U. S. Census Bureau, 2011 American Community Survey, median real estate taxes by Metropolitan Statistical Area

Average Homeowners Insurance Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 2009 average premiums by state [Note: average 2009 premiums for Texas cities were obtained from the Texas Department of Insurance]

Average Household Debt Source: Experian's 2012 State of Credit Study [Notes: did not include mortgage debt; Interest.com calculated monthly debt payments using an 8% interest rate amortized over 60 months]

About Interest.com:

Since it was created in 1994, Interest.com has been helping consumers make smart financial decisions. Interest.com's stories, calculators and interest rate tables also appear on the websites of more than 100 newspapers in 31 states, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Dallas Morning News.

Interest.com is owned by Bankrate, Inc., which is among the largest and most trusted providers of personal finance advice and information on the Web.

For More Information:

Ted Rossman Public Relations Manager, Bankrate, Inc. ted.rossman@bankrate.com 917-368-8635

SOURCE Interest.com