Airport Aims to Use Uber Drivers’ Fingerprints to Check Past

Atlanta Airport Uber
AP Photo/Jeff Martin

ATLANTA — A battle over background checks for Uber drivers at the world’s busiest airport comes as cities like Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, consider more thorough screenings to prevent criminals from getting behind the wheel.

Uber has objected to the Atlanta airport’s plan to use fingerprints to check criminal records of its drivers, saying its own record checks are sufficient.

But the district attorney in Uber’s hometown of San Francisco has called the ride-booking firm’s process “completely worthless” since drivers aren’t fingerprinted.

In Houston, city officials say they found that background checks without fingerprints allow criminals who have been charged with murder, sexual assault and other crimes to evade detection in a variety of ways.

Atlanta’s city council on Wednesday is set to consider the airport’s plan for screening drivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-booking firms when proposed new rules go before the council’s transportation committee.

Uber has agreements with more than 50 U.S. airports, none of which require the fingerprint-based background checks being proposed by Atlanta’ s airport, the company said in a statement. Those airports include major air hubs in Denver; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

But New York City does fingerprint drivers, and the mayor of Los Angeles this month asked state regulators to allow his city to do so as well.

Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, was among the first in the nation to require drivers for Uber and other ride-booking firms to undergo fingerprint-based background checks using the FBI’s database. Houston’s program began in November 2014, and city officials there say they’re far more thorough than any other way of checking someone’s criminal past.

“Public safety is our No. 1 priority — that’s something the city of Houston does not compromise on,” said Lara Cottingham, Houston’s deputy assistant director of administration and regulatory affairs. “That’s the reason we license any vehicle for hire.”

Since Houston’s ordinance went into effect, the city’s fingerprint-based FBI background checks have found driver applicants who have been charged with murder, sexual assault, robbery and indecent exposure, among other crimes. Those drivers had already cleared the commercial background checks used by ride-for-hire companies, according to a city report released this month.

Potential drivers can pass background checks that don’t rely on fingerprints simply by using an alias, the report found. For instance, one driver cleared by a company that does background checks for Uber underwent Houston’s fingerprint check, which turned up 24 alias names, 10 listed social security numbers and an active arrest warrant, the report states.

Companies that perform background checks for ride-hailing firms typically seek to identify counties where they’ve lived in the past, then search public records from those places, the report states. But the checks don’t search every county, creating “a huge potential gap where crimes go undetected,” the report states.

“The FBI provides the only true nationwide check,” the report states.

Uber has now been operating in Houston for more than a year, “and everything we’ve seen is that the number of drivers getting licenses continues to grow and their business continues to thrive,” Cottingham said.

However, Uber maintains that Atlanta’s plan would add “substantial, additional bureaucratic barriers for drivers,” company spokesman Bill Gibbons said. Atlanta would use the Georgia Department of Driver Services to help check the backgrounds of potential drivers, though specific details of how drivers would be screened haven’t been released.

The ride-booking firm Lyft also says Atlanta’s proposal would prove difficult.

“While the Hartsfield-Jackson staff has recognized the benefits Lyft provides, the current plan as proposed will make it extremely difficult for Lyft to operate,” Lyft said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The conflict in Atlanta is the latest in a series of disputes Uber has had over its background checks of drivers.

In December 2014, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced a lawsuit against Uber, partly over its background checks.

In Los Angeles, “registered sex offenders, a kidnapper, identity thieves, burglars, and a convicted murderer had passed Uber’s ‘industry leading’ background check,” the lawsuit states.

“Uber’s process cannot ensure that the information in the background check report is actually associated with the applicant since it does not use a unique biometric identifier such as a fingerprint,” the lawsuit adds.

Written by Jeff Martin of Associated Press

(Source: Associated Press)

Wealthy Foreigners Snatch Up $100B in US Real Estate

© Provided by CNBC
© Provided by CNBC

Overseas buyers snapped up more than $100 billion in U.S. real estate over the past year, as the foreign wealthy sought safe shelter for their fortunes.

According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of U.S. residential real estate to overseas buyers between April 2014 and March 2015 reached a record $104 billion, or about 8 percent of total existing home sales. While the number of properties sold slowed to 209,000 from 232,600 last year, buyers acquired more expensive properties, which brought up the sales total.

Chinese were far and away the top foreign buyers of real estate last year, with buyers from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan accounting for $28.6 billion in sales, according to the report. Canada ranked second, with $11.2 billion, followed by India with $7.9 billion. They mainly favored homes in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New York.

Overall, Florida was the top state for overseas real estate buyers, accounting for 21 percent of all U.S. sales to foreign buyers. California ranked second, with 16 percent, followed by Texas with 8 percent and Arizona with 5 percent. The top four states accounted for half of overseas buying.

Overseas buyers accounted for only 3 percent of sales in New York state, though that share is far higher for New York City, where most of their buying is concentrated. The buyers were split almost evenly between resident and nonresident foreigners.

Europeans and Canadians were attracted to Florida and Arizona, while California and Texas were favored by buyers from Asia. Buyers from Latin America, including Mexico, favored Texas and Florida.

Foreign buyers were focused on higher-end homes. The mean purchase price for overseas buyers was $499,600, nearly twice the national mean purchase price of $255,600. Foreigners are also paying more than they were last year: The mean price paid by overseas buyers jumped 26 percent over the previous year. Most favored the suburbs over the city and most favored single-family detached homes over apartments.

Most buyers—some 55 percent of overseas buyers—paid all-cash, according to the report.

The declining number of properties sold was primarily attributed to the stronger dollar, which makes U.S. real estate more expensive for overseas buyers.

The report said that U.S. real estate remains a relative bargain compared to other global cities favored by the wealthy. For instance, a condo costing $1.6 million in New York would cost more than $4 million in Paris and $2 million in Moscow.

Fully 46 percent of foreign buyers planned to use their properties as a primary residence, while 20 percent plan to use as them for rentals and 15 percent plan to use it them as vacation homes.

Written by Robert Frank of CNBC

(Source: MSN)

The Exact Moment Big Cities Got Too Expensive for Millennials

Creative Commons
Provided by Creative Commons

(Bloomberg Business) — The rent has been “too damn high” in New York for so long that today’s young professionals might assume it was always that way. Yet it wasn’t until the second quarter of 2004 that the median rent exceeded 30 percent of the median household income for young workers, the threshold at which housing experts say rent is no longer affordable, according to an analysis conducted by Zillow.

Rents are stretching millennial budgets throughout the U.S. Nationally, the typical worker from 22 to 34 years old paid 30 percent of income for rent in the first quarter of 2015, up from 23 percent in 1979, when the analysis begins.  In those places, rental unaffordability is a distinct obstacle for people trying to carve out lives and careers, particularly in the nine major cities shown in the chart below, where more than half of households rent.

The median rent in Los Angeles has been out of the reach of young people since at least the Carter administration. Chicago, by contrast, was affordable for the typical young worker until 2012, the year Kanye West first appeared on Keeping Up With the Kardashians.Most millennials could responsibly budget for rent in Boston as recently as 2004, when the Red Sox broke the team’s long World Series drought. San Francisco dipped in and out of unaffordable territory for years, until—after roughly a decade of affordability—rents shot ahead of millennial incomes in 2003; they have continued to outpace salaries ever since.

A couple of forces are making major cities increasingly unaffordable for millennials at the outset of their working lives. Stagnant wages in many cities have made rental and for- sale housing harder for workers to afford.

Demand for leases has also outweighed supply in many places. In the nine cities shown on the map below, the number of renters is growing faster than the number of rental units, according to a report published in May by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. That trend is likely to continue if predictions for falling homeownership rates are realized.

For many cities, the affordability gap hasn’t been a growth-killer; in many, it’s a consequence of their sustained popularity. People continue to flock to San Francisco for opportunities in its technology industry, despite median rents that were unaffordable to young workers for the first time in 1982. Looming rental affordability problems in Dallas and Houston are probably the result of booming local economies that have attracted workers faster than builders can erect new housing.

Not unexpectedly, the poor have suffered most from the dearth of reasonably priced housing. In 2013, 60 percent of low- income renters were severely rent-burdened, meaning they spent more than half their income on rent, according to the Furman report. Middle-class renters are also struggling to find affordable housing: More than one-third of moderate-income renters were severely rent-burdened in Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.

The 30 percent threshold, it should be noted, is merely a proxy for affordability. Transportation costs, which are typically the second-biggest expense in most household budgets, can vary greatly for workers who take public transit and for those who carry car payments and auto insurance. That makes renting in Los Angeles look especially unappealing.

Millennials, meanwhile, can look forward to longer commutes and a harder time putting money away for a mortgage downpayment. Or move to Missouri.

Zillow compared median rents for each metropolitan area with the median income for young workers within that metro, on a quarterly basis, from 1979 through the first three months of 2015.

Written by Patrick Clark of Bloomberg

(Source: Bloomberg)

The Salary You Must Earn to Buy a Home in 27 Metros

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

How much salary do you need to earn in order to afford the principal and interest payments on a median-priced home in your metro area?

To find out, HSH.com took the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 first-quarter data for median-home prices and HSH.com’s 2015 first-quarter average interest rate for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages to determine how much of your salary it would take to afford the base cost of owning a home — the principal, interest, taxes and insurance — in 27 metro areas.

We used standard 28 percent “front-end” debt ratios and a 20 percent down payment subtracted from the NAR’s median-home-price data to arrive at our figures. We’ve incorporated available information on property taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs to more accurately reflect the income needed in a given market. Read more about the methodology and inputs on the final slide of this slideshow.

The first quarter was a soft period for the economy which helped mortgage rates fall in all 27 metros. While home prices rose sharply in the majority of metro areas across the country due to high demand and low inventory, there was an even split on our list of the metros that experienced price increases and price declines.

“Sales activity to start the year was notably higher than a year ago, as steady hiring and low interest rates encouraged more buyers to enter the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “However, stronger demand without increasing supply led to faster price growth in many markets.”

On a national scale, with 20 percent down, a buyer would need to earn a salary of $47,253.07 to afford the median-priced home. However, it’s possible to buy a home with less than a 20 percent down payment. Of course, the larger loan amount when financing 90 percent of the property price, plus the need for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), raises the income needed considerably. In the national example above, a purchase of a median-priced home with only a 10 percent down payment (and including the cost of PMI) increases the income needed to $54,341.84 – just over $7,000 more.

Here’s a current look at how much salary you would need to earn in order to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home in your metro area.

CLEVELAND: $29,393.54

Mortgage rate: 3.82 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.23 percent

Home price: $105,900

  • Quarterly change: -12.62 percent
  • YOY change: +3.72 percent

Monthly payment: $685.85

Salary: $29,393.54

  • Quarterly change: -$2,616.87

Cleveland retakes the crown as the most affordable metro area on our list. The largest quarterly price decline on our list was more than enough to make Cleveland No. 1 in terms of affordability. Cleveland saw the second-largest salary reduction at $2,617.

PITTSBURGH: $30,786.94

Mortgage rate: 3.75 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.23 percent

Home price: $131,000

  • Quarterly change: -2.96 percent
  • YOY change: +9.17 percent

Monthly payment: $718.36

Salary: $30,786.94

  • Quarterly change: -$929.38

Pittsburgh lost its top spot as the most-affordable metro area, requiring a salary nearly $1,400 higher than Cleveland. But affordable conditions haven’t gone anywhere in the Steel City. With the lowest mortgage rates on our list, you can still afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments on a median-priced home and make less than $31,000.

ST. LOUIS: $32,606.92

Mortgage rate: 3.82 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.21 percent

Home price: $134,800

  • Quarterly change: -2.60 percent
  • YOY change: +11.87 percent

Monthly payment: $760.83

Salary: $32,606.92

  • Quarterly change: -$716.17

St. Louis maintains its position at No. 3 on our list. Price and rate declines in the St. Louis metro during the first quarter were middle-of-the –pack as far as our list goes, reducing the required salary by a rather stable figure of $716.

CINCINNATI: $32,741.64

Mortgage rate: 3.86 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.23 percent

Home price: $135,000

  • Quarterly change: -2.24 percent
  • YOY change: +10.93 percent

Monthly payment: $763.97

Salary: $32,741.64

  • Quarterly change: -$743.59

Again, the Cincinnati metro and the St. Louis metro remain near mirror images of one another. Nearly every aspect of these two metros is identical: mortgage rates, rate changes, home prices, quarterly and yearly price changes, monthly payment, required salary, and salary changes.

DETROIT: $34,902.43

Mortgage rate: 3.92 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.26 percent

Home price: $135,000

  • Quarterly change: -0.59 percent
  • YOY change: +21.90 percent

Monthly payment: $814.39

Salary: $34,902.43

  • Quarterly change: -$619.04

Detroit-area home buyers and homeowners both have to be happy with what’s happening to home prices in the Motor City metro. In an area that suffered so dramatically from the Great Recession, home prices continue to show short-term stability and long-term growth.

ATLANTA: $35,577.84

Mortgage rate: 3.84 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.25 percent

Home price: $158,000

  • Quarterly change: +0.19 percent
  • YOY change: +11.35 percent

Monthly payment: $830.15

Salary: $35,577.84

  • Quarterly change: -$222.26

Atlanta is the first metro so far on our list to have experienced both quarterly and yearly price increases. Balancing out the modest quarterly increase was a rate decline of one-quarter percent, reducing the required salary by $222, the lowest salary decline so far.

TAMPA: $38,316.50

Mortgage rate: 3.91 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.22 percent

Home price: $156,000

  • Quarterly change: -2.50 percent
  • YOY change: +7.59 percent

Monthly payment: $894.05

Salary: $38,316.50

  • Quarterly change: +$584.30

It may seem odd that Tampa had both a rate and price decline during the first quarter of 2015 but still saw the required salary increase. The reason is that insurance costs were higher in Tampa. Homebuyers must remember that principal and interest payments aren’t the only monthly costs they will incur — tax and insurance costs also play a role in home affordability.

PHOENIX: $40,729.60

Mortgage rate: 3.82 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.24 percent

Home price: $206,100

  • Quarterly change: +2.90 percent
  • YOY change: +6.07 percent

Monthly payment: $950.36

Salary: $40,729.60

  • Quarterly change: +71.52

Phoenix is the first metro area on this list to crack the $200,000-home-price mark, and the second metro so far to experience both quarterly and yearly home-price growth. That price growth was just strong enough to cancel out the mortgage-rate declines, edging the required salary higher by $72.

ORLANDO: $44,291.94

Mortgage rate: 3.86 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.21 percent

Home price: $186,000

  • Quarterly change: +3.33 percent
  • YOY change: +4.49 percent

Monthly payment: $1,033.48

Salary: $44,291.94

  • Quarterly change: +$2,148.63

The Orlando metro went from a near-$500 salary decline in the fourth quarter of 2014 to an increase of over $2,100 — the second-highest salary increase on our list – in the first quarter. Affordability took a step back in this metro area during the first three months of 2015.

SAN ANTONIO: $45,018.15

Mortgage rate: 3.93 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.16 percent

Home price: $184,700

  • Quarterly change: -0.43 percent
  • YOY change: +9.10 percent

Monthly payment: $1,050.42

Salary: $45,018.15

  • Quarterly change: -$356.15

San Antonio continues to be the most affordable Texas metro on our list. The rate and price declines of 0.16 percent and 0.43 percent, respectively, helped increase affordability to the tune of $356 during the first quarter.

MINNEAPOLIS: $47,105.09

Mortgage rate: 3.83 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.24 percent

Home price: $209,400

  • Quarterly change: -0.29 percent
  • YOY change: +11.26 percent

Monthly payment: $1,099.12

Salary: $47,105.09

  • Quarterly change: -$521.44

For the first time in a long time, the Minneapolis was not the first metro to crack the $200,000-home-price mark; Phoenix beat them to the punch. While year-over-year price gains persist in the Twin Cities metro, back-to-back quarterly declines in rates and prices continue to improve affordability.

DALLAS: $48,715.63

Mortgage rate: 3.85 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.24 percent

Home price: $192,500

  • Quarterly change: +1.53 percent
  • YOY change: +10.13 percent

Monthly payment: $1,136.70

Salary: $48,715.63

  • Quarterly change: -$70.90

After salary increases in the first three quarters of 2014, the Dallas metro continues on a path of increased affordability thanks to a moderate median-price increase and a rate decline of nearly one-quarter percent.

PHILADELPHIA: $48,776.36

Mortgage rate: 3.88 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.26 percent

Home price: $204,900

  • Quarterly change: -3.94 percent
  • YOY change: +1.54 percent

Monthly payment: $1,138.11

Salary: $48,776.36

  • Quarterly change: -$2,137.68

Home prices continue to trend downward in the Philadelphia metro. While this trend is coming at the expense of home sellers, buyers are certainly rejoicing over the increased levels of affordability. The required salary to purchase a home in the City of Brotherly Love fell by $2,138 during the first quarter, the fourth-largest decline on our list.

HOUSTON: $49,639.64

Mortgage rate: 3.87 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.22 percent

Home price: $200,300

  • Quarterly change: +0.50 percent
  • YOY change: +8.50 percent

Monthly payment: $1,158.26

Salary: $49,639.64

  • Quarterly change: -$343.74

The Houston metro swapped places with the Philly metro for the first quarter, further extending the title of the most expensive Texas metro on our list. Affordability conditions are eroding a bit in the Houston area as home prices continue to rise.

BALTIMORE: $50,270.32

Mortgage rate: 3.82 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.21 percent

Home price: $223,100

  • Quarterly change: -4.33 percent
  • YOY change: -0.62 percent

Monthly payment: $1,172.97

Salary: $50,270.32

  • Quarterly change: -$2,391.64

The price and salary declines look very similar in the Charm City metro in the first quarter of 2015 as they did in the fourth quarter of 2014, just to a lesser extent. Home prices, both quarterly and YOY, continued to weaken as did the required salary. Last time the required salary in the Baltimore metro fell by over $4,000; this time was about half that.

CHICAGO: $53,470.17

Mortgage rate: 3.89 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.20 percent

Home price: $192,500

  • Quarterly change: -1.33 percent
  • YOY change: +8.82 percent

Monthly payment: $1,247.64

Salary: $53,470.17

  • Quarterly change: -$876.45

Chicago’s home prices have leveled off a bit. The quarterly decline in the Chicago metro went from 12.04 percent in the fourth quarter to just 1.33 percent during the first quarter. The end result is still the same: a lower required salary to afford a home in the Windy City metro.

SACRAMENTO: $58,488.22

Mortgage rate: 3.96 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.23 percent

Home price: $275,800

  • Quarterly change: +2.64 percent
  • YOY change: +7.82 percent

Monthly payment: $1,364.72

Salary: $58,488.22

  • Quarterly change: +$75.73

With the highest mortgage rate on our list, and with both quarterly and yearly price gains, it’s little wonder that Sacramento’s affordability decreased slightly in the first quarter. What’s interesting about the Sacramento metro is that the yearly price gains are almost exactly the same as they were in the previous quarter, and the quarterly price increase in the fourth quarter cancels out the quarterly decline in the fourth quarter. That’s why affordability has been so consistent in the River City metro.

PORTLAND, OREGON: $59,428.71

Mortgage rate: 3.87 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.24 percent

Home price: $289,400

  • Quarterly change: +0.17 percent
  • YOY change: +6.44 percent

Monthly payment: $1,386.67

Salary: $59,428.71

  • Quarterly change: -$1,174.79

Portland moved up one spot on our list this time around as meager price growth and interest rate declines made the metro area more affordable. A borrower could have earned $1,175 less in the first quarter and still been able to afford the median-priced home in the Portland area.

MIAMI: $59,869.76

Mortgage rate: 3.87 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.22 percent

Home price: $269,100

  • Quarterly change: +1.55 percent
  • YOY change: +3.90 percent

Monthly payment: $1,396.96

Salary: $59,869.76

  • Quarterly change: +$1,438.27

While Miami’s YOY price growth remains moderate, the metro area broke out of its quarterly pattern of price declines. Despite falling mortgage rates during the first three months of 2015, affordability declined as the required salary increased by nearly $1,500.

DENVER: $64,558.05

Mortgage rate: 3.88 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.20 percent

Home price: $338,100

  • Quarterly change: +7.40 percent
  • YOY change: +17.23 percent

Monthly payment: $1,506.35

Salary: $64,558.05

  • Quarterly change: +$2,915.90

Substantial price gains in the Denver metro area sent the required salary higher by nearly $3,000 in the first quarter. Higher home prices are a result of inadequate inventory in relation to strong buyer demand. A 20-basis-point decline in mortgage rates kept the salary figure from rising even higher.

SEATTLE: $71,702.81

Mortgage rate: 3.95 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.20 percent

Home price: $352,400

  • Quarterly change: +0.11 percent
  • YOY change: +3.68 percent

Monthly payment: $1,673.07

Salary: $71,702.81

  • Quarterly change: -$1,141.50

Home prices have been pretty stable in the Seattle metro area since the second quarter of 2014. Flat home prices and falling rates continued to reduce the amount of salary a Seattle-area homebuyer needs to afford a median-priced home.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: $75,978.18

Mortgage rate: 3.78 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.20 percent

Home price: $367,800

  • Quarterly change: -1.34 percent
  • YOY change: +2.48 percent

Monthly payment: $1,772.82

Salary: $75,978.18

  • Quarterly change: -$1,416.64

Once again, mortgage rates in the D.C. metro area are amongst the lowest on our list. A modest quarterly decline in prices was enough to send the required salary lower by nearly $1,500 in the first quarter of 2015. Home prices have been falling in the nation’s capitol since the second quarter of 2014.

BOSTON: $77,148.48

Mortgage rate: 3.80 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.25 percent

Home price: $374,600

  • Quarterly change: -2.24 percent
  • YOY change: +3.14 percent

Monthly payment: $1,800.13

Salary: $77,148.48

  • Quarterly change: -$2,901.45

The Boston and D.C. metro areas continue to be closely aligned in terms of affordability conditions: the mortgage rate, quarterly home price and required-salary declines are very similar. However, you will need to earn about $1,200 more a year to afford the median-priced home in the Boston metro versus D.C.

LOS ANGELES: $85,081.43

Mortgage rate: 3.83 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.24 percent

Home price: $434,700

  • Quarterly change: -3.59 percent
  • YOY change: +7.02 percent

Monthly payment: $1,985.23

Salary: $85,081.43

  • Quarterly change: -$4,583.43

The affordability battle between the Los Angeles and New York City metros continues, and in the first quarter LA edged NYC by a nose. Home prices have been steadily falling in the LA metro since the third quarter of 2014. Quarterly rate and price declines shaved over $4,500 off the required salary to afford a median-priced home in the Los Angeles metro.

NEW YORK: $85,240.35

Mortgage rate: 3.90 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.32 percent

Home price: $388,600

  • Quarterly change: +0.65 percent
  • YOY change: +1.91 percent

Monthly payment: $1,988.94

Salary: $85,240.35

  • Quarterly change: -$1,639.80

The New York metro had the largest quarterly-mortgage-rate decline on our list at 0.32 percent, but the minute increase in quarterly prices didn’t affect the required salary as much as it did in the LA metro. You may be thinking, how can the NY metro be less affordable than LA when the Big Apple home price is so much lower. The answer is the taxes and insurance costs are a lot higher in the New York metro area.

SAN DIEGO: $96,404.80

Mortgage rate: 3.87 percent

  • Quarterly change: -0.20 percent

Home price: $510,300

  • Quarterly change: +3.49 percent
  • YOY change: +5.65 percent

Monthly payment: $2,249.45

Salary: $96,404.80

  • Quarterly change: +$972.13

Affordability eroded in the San Diego metro area during the first quarter as home-gains outstripped the mortgage-rate decline of 0.20 percent. Is San Diego finally making a run at San Francisco as the least-affordable metro on our list? Despite the salary increase, it’s still not even close.

SAN FRANCISCO: $141,416.54

Mortgage rate: 3.88 percent (jumbo rate)

  • Quarterly change: -0.14 percent

Home price: $748,300

  • Quarterly change: +0.59 percent
  • YOY change: +10.08 percent

Monthly payment: $3,299.72

Salary: $141,416.54

  • Quarterly change: -$1,342.30

San Francisco remains the king of inaffordability. The first-quarter rate decline of 0.14 percent was the smallest drop on our entire list. However, that subtle rate decline and relatively stable home prices was enough to lower the required salary by $1,342. Yet, when you need to earn $141,417 to simply purchase the median-priced home, does $1,400 really matter one way or the other?

How did we come up with these salaries?

To compile these results, HSH.com calculated the annual before-tax income required to cover the mortgage’s principal, interest, tax and insurance payment. We used standard 28 percent “front-end” debt ratios and a 20 percent down payment subtracted from the median-home-price data to arrive at our figures. Loans with less than a 20 percent down payment will incur mortgage insurance, which would in turn increase the required salary.

We utilized the NAR’s 2015 first-quarter data for median home prices and our 2015 first-quarter average interest rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage to determine how much money homebuyers in 27 major metro areas would need to earn in order to purchase the median-priced home in their market.

The average mortgage rate information we used was for purchase-money mortgages made to borrowers with good to excellent credit.

We created metropolitan-area average property tax information using data made available from the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan research think tank, based in Washington, D.C.

We used statewide average homeowner insurance premium costs from the Insurance Information Institute, whose mission is to improve public understanding of insurance.

Note: Property taxes and insurance costs are specific to an individual property itself and will be different for any single property in which you may have an interest. Also, if other personal debts exceed 8 percent of one’s given monthly gross income, this will increase the salary needed to qualify.

Data for the Pittsburgh metro area was provided by RealSTATs, a locally owned and operated real estate information company. Home-price data for Detroit was provided by Realcomp II Ltd., Michigan’s largest Multiple Listing Service.

Written by Tim Manni of HSH.com

(Source: HSH)