WASHINGTON - The hurdles to homeownership are many. On top of saving for the down payment, some people are too busy stressing about other debt to want to take on a mortgage. Others are better off stashing the money away for retirement.
But all that aside, many people living in large cities couldn't afford to buy a house even if they wanted to.
A household earning the median income can only afford a median-priced home in 10 of the 25 largest U.S cities, according to a new report from Interest.com.
That's actually a slight improvement from last year, when only eight of the largest 25 cities had median incomes that were enough to afford a median-priced home. But for anyone hoping to see their name on a deed in the near future, it may mean having to relocate.
Interest.com compiled data on median home prices, income, average property taxes and insurance costs, along with other mortgage-related information, to calculate whether someone earning the median income in each city could afford to buy a median-priced home in that area.
Topping the list of cities where homeownership was most affordable was Minneapolis, where people earning the median income made 23 percent more than they needed to afford a median-priced home in the area. Next up was Atlanta, where median earners made 22 percent more than they needed. Anyone want to buy in Detroit?
The major cities that turned out to be the most unaffordable are exactly the ones you'd expect. In San Francisco, the median-earning household fell 46 percent short of the income needed to afford the median home price of $769,600. In Portland, median earners were 5 percent short of having enough income to buy a median-priced home.
So why does homeownership feel so out of reach for urbanites? For starters, home prices grew by 6 percent last year in big cities, more than the 4 percent increase seen nationwide, according to Interest.com. And income, which only increased by 2 percent, isn't keeping up, the study found. Wondering if you're ready to make the plunge? Interest.com has a tool for helping people figure out how much mortgage they can afford: http://www.interest.com/mortgage/calculators/how-much-can-i-borrow/
Marte is a reporter covering personal finance. She was previously a writer for MarketWatch and the Wall Street Journal.