‘Extra! Extra!’ NYC Subway Hawkers May Be Going Away

A "hawker" for amNewYork hands out copies of the free daily newspaper in New York. Under a licensing agreement proposed by the MTA, vendors would no longer be able to distribute papers in the city's subway system.
Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

In a blow to one of the last viable models of newspaper distribution, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has signed off on a plan to stop “hawkers” from handing out free daily newspapers in the city’s subway system. The proposed move, approved Wednesday by the MTA board, threatens to significantly diminish the papers’ visibility at a time when traditional newsstand sales have all but evaporated.

For more than a decade, two free newspapers — amNewYork and Metro New York — have competed for the attention of New York City commuters across the vast underground network, and to do so, they’ve relied on armies of vocal vendors who peddle their products and ensure that any rider who wants one, and presumably many who don’t, gets a copy.

But on Wednesday the MTA boardapproved a proposed licensing agreement that would do away with the hawkers in exchange for lifeless newspaper racks. The non-exclusive agreement, valid for up to six years, would allow for the installation of uniform racks at approved locations throughout the subway system and would prohibit amNewYork and Metro from distributing their papers in the subway by any other means.

An MTA spokesman confirmed with International Business Times that, per the agreement, hawkers will no longer be able to hand out the papers in subway stations or even outside subway entrances. Officials for the agency have long criticized the hawkers, who they say create safety hazards by interrupting the flow of commuters and leaving bundles of newspapers unattended. The MTA said discarded newspapers have led to an increase in track fires.

It’s unclear if the papers’ parent companies have signed the agreement or if they plan to push back. A representative for Newsday LLC, which owns amNewYork, declined to comment. Representatives for Metro International did not respond to repeated requests.

John Murray, vice president of audience development for the Newspaper Association of America, said it’s not uncommon for newspaper companies to reach compromises with city agencies and municipalities over distribution methods, even to their own detriment. While an outright ban on newspaper hawkers would likely stir the ire of free speech advocates, newspaper companies, many of which are already struggling to make ends meet, are typically not eager to enter into pricey court battles. Agreements like the one the MTA is proposing ensure that they are still given access, but restrict the means by which they can distribute.

The loss of the subway hawkers, whose vocal pleas for readers have become a familiar sound to tube-bound New Yorkers, would likely have a negative impact on the papers’ circulation numbers, which in turn could affect advertising rates. AmNewYork boasts the highest daily circulation of any tabloid-sized paper in the city, with an average of 335,900 copies distributed each weekday, according to its 2014 media kit.

“The hawkers are still very valuable, in particular for free-distribution newspapers,” Murray said. “In many cities without the hawkers, the distribution is below that critical mass and you don’t have the scale that you need from a business sense.”

“You don’t generate an audience as large with racks,” he added.

With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and e-readers over the last decade, New Yorkers have plenty of ways to keep themselves occupied during their subway commutes. But broadband connectivity remains spotty or nonexistent in many parts of the underground system, and in many ways New York’s 5.5 million daily subway riders remain one of the world’s largest captive audiences.

In that controlled environment, the two free dailies have proved surprisingly resilient, even as the mobile revolution has decimated many of the city’s newsstands. Offering bite-size, mostly aggregated news, amNewYork and Metro demand very little brain power, which is an obvious fit for half-asleep New Yorkers trudging into work at 5:30 in the morning. Somehow, playing Crossy Road at that hour just doesn’t cut it.

Written by Christopher Zara of International Business Times

(Source: International Business Times)

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)

What Happens When Tech Workers Come to Town

© Provided by CNBC
© Provided by CNBC

Technology workers are increasingly looking beyond Silicon Valley for a place to call home, eyeing cities like Seattle, Denver and Austin, Texas, as their companies open new offices across the country. And it’s impacting housing prices.

When technology workers enter a metropolitan area’s real estate market, housing prices are likely to increase, according to a recent study by real estate company Redfin.

For every 1 percent increase in technology workers, there’s roughly a half percent rise in home prices above the national rate of appreciation, the study found.

The study tracked the hiring data of the four largest Internet-related companies—Google  (GOOGL), Apple  (AAPL), Facebook  (FB) and Amazon (AMZN)—in six metropolitan areas, including Silicon Valley. The hiring data from these companies were used as a proxy for overall technology hiring in the areas.

Seattle and Boston have the largest growth rates in technology hiring with a year-over-year increase in technology workers of 21 percent and 17 percent, respectively. As a result, Redfin believes that housing prices will increase the most in these areas.

It is important to note, however, that Boston only saw a 3 percent rise in year-over-year home price increases, despite having the second-largest uptick in technology workers. The authors attributed this discrepancy to people leaving Boston for warmer climates.

For now, Silicon Valley still holds first place for housing price inflation above the other cities surveyed at a 22.2 percent increase in year-over-year home prices.

But other cities are catching up. Denver saw an increase in home prices of approximately 17 percent, Austin 15 percent and Seattle 13 percent.

What’s driving housing prices up? Technology workers’ high salaries and their increasing wealth from stock-based pay.

Apple, Facebook and Amazon have all seen stock appreciation at or above 25 percent since last June. Google saw a 4 percent depreciation, the study noted.

Because of their growing wealth, technology workers are often the ones driving bidding wars to new, groundbreaking levels.

“We always knew at a vague level that the expansion of the technology-driven economy was affecting the American city, but now we see by how much,” said Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, in the report.

Written by Marguerite Ward of CNBC

(Source: CNBC)

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)