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Homeownership Affordability in Urban America: Past and Future
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Published April 2004
Author Zhong Yi Tong
Source Fannie Mae Foundation
URL Click here to download the full document
PDF: 48 pages, 731 kbytes


This study gauges trends in the affordability of homes for median-income working Americans. It examines past (1990-2003) and projected trends (2004-2008) for the nation as a whole, for 11 selected metropolitan areas, and for people working as schoolteachers, nurses, firefighters, and police officers. Among its conclusions:

-- At the national level, a median-income, first-time home buyer with a 10 percent down payment will no longer qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home beginning this year. By 2007, even a repeat buyer with a 20 percent down payment will not qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home.

-- At the metropolitan-area level, median-priced homes will remain affordable or nearly affordable for median-income buyers in only three of 11 selected urban markets (Atlanta, Houston, and Philadelphia). As a result of faster growth in home prices than in family incomes, four other urban markets (Chicago, Denver, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.) are shifting from barely or nearly affordable to unaffordable for median-income residents. The median-income worker is already shut out of four metropolitan markets (Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco).

-- In the metropolitan areas in which the home affordability crisis is most severe (Boston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco), first-time home buyers will need at least twice the area's median income to afford a median-priced home.

This document is in the public domain and may be freely copied, distributed or publicly displayed.

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