When people talk about home “affordability” it boils down to one number: the asking price. But home “attainability” is a more complex equation. Attainability refers to a prospective buyer’s ability to find an entry-level home (no easy task these days), obtain a loan and pay for 30 years of ancillary costs like utilities, maintenance and insurance.
Here’s a shocking statistic that shows why home attainability is out of reach for millions: according to government figures, the median net salary of U.S. workers is $31,561. That means that after taxes, 50% of American workers take home less than that amount.
Some cities are now homebuyer magnets because they offer a real shot at attainability. In El Paso, for example, a worker can qualify for a new home loan with an annual gross salary of just $32,185. In Oklahoma City, a gross salary of $33,507 is all that’s required. There are many other cities across America that have ample attainable housing, including Roanoke, Va., Battle Creek, Mich., and Binghamton, N.Y.
Builders in these communities are providing plenty of starter homes, not just high-end models. In El Paso, half of all new homes cost less than $158,000. That makes the long-term costs of insuring and maintaining a home much easier to bear.
The bottom line: we can’t all live in Beverly Hills. Fortunately, there are still builders who understand that society benefits greatly when housing is attainable.
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