Markets & Economy

Home affordability plummets 21 percent in one year

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Many real estate analysts say that increases in home prices and mortgage rates have started to slow the housing recovery. Now RealtyTrac has put a number on the toll those changes have taken on affordability. And it's not pretty. Twenty-one percent. That's how much the data aggregator says the monthly payment for a median-priced three-bedroom home purchased in the fourth quarter of 2013 increased from the year before. The cost of owning a home is "becoming dangerously disconnected with still-stagnant median incomes," as deep-pocketed investors -- "who are not tethered to typical affordability constraints" -- drive prices up to levels that many financed owner-occupant buyers cannot handle, RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist said in a statement. “One simply needs to look at the minimum income needed to qualify for a median-priced home in some markets to realize the extent of the disconnect between prices and incomes,” he said. “For example, in Los Angeles Cou...