While home prices are rising around the country, potential home buyers can take some solace in interest rates, which continue to defy expectations that they’re going to increase.
The median price of a house in 27 major metro areas in the U.S. is $222,700. In order to afford such a house with a 20 percent down payment in the fourth quarter of 2015, a family would need to earn at least $51,114, according to a new analysis by mortgage research firm HSH.com. That’s just slightly below the median annual wage of $53,000.
Of course, the old adage that all real estate is local holds true. A median-priced home in Pittsburgh costs $128,000, about a sixth of what it cost to buy a median-priced home in San Francisco. Residents of the former city would need wages of just $31,134 to become homeowners, while those in the latter would need to earn nearly $150,000.
The report used local home prices as well as local mortgage rates to compare the base cost of owning a house -‑ mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance —but did not include other expenses such as maintenance and utilities. HSH found that mortgage rates fell in all 27 metros to a national average of just over 4 percent. Rates have fallen even further since the start of the year.
On an annual basis, home prices increased in almost all the cities studied, with home prices in Orlando growing the fastest (13.89 percent), followed by Denver.
Buying a home is more affordable than renting one in nearly 60 percent of American cities, according to a December analysis by RealtyTrac.