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6 | Th e M Rep o RT mdwell F inancing homes for middle-class Americans is no longer just about checking borrower credit or verifying employ- ment to ensure a new homeowner is a solid credit risk. It's also studying the stats and knowing where the middle-class consumer is braced to succeed at borrowing in the first place. And if we can read the tea leaves, it could prove helpful know- ing where the mid-tier income bracket may be heading in the future to find affordable home-buying opportunities. Why is all of this guessing important? The simple an- swer: Parts of America have become starkly unaffordable for middle-income households. If your lending shop is focused on mid-tier consumers or wants to find them in the future, it may be helpful to read the data and wonder if the future of middle-class homebuying will eventually resemble a game of Monopoly, where families in mid-tier income brackets start giving affordable communities such as St. Louis a second glance, while skipping San Francisco altogether. Thanks to data from, there is a definite way to map out the future of the middle-class homeowner. Using data from HSH, it is clear these are the most and least affordable real estate markets based on what a borrower has to earn to safely pur- chase a home. St. Louis It takes a salary of only $33,323 to afford a home in old St. Louis. The Midwest city has never been confused with paradise, but struggling families looking for solid Mid- west stability–and the lend- ers serving them–may want to consider the possibility of a revival in the future. A salary of $33,323 is easily attainable for someone in his or her twenties and thirties, who wants to buy a home. Pittsburgh With a salary of $31,716, Pittsburgh is a community where a person can plant their roots without much fi- nancial strain. That is as long as they can find economic stability in the form of a job. Cincinnati Taking into account home prices, the mortgage princi- pal, interest, taxes and insur- ance, Cincinnati requires a much smaller income of just over $33,000 ($33,485 to be exact) to be able to af- ford a home. Houston Houston is not the most af- fordable in the nation in terms of home prices, but given its status as an economic powerhouse and reputation for jobs creation, it makes the list because buyers in this area are blessed with two benefits: a stable economy and homes that are still reasonably priced. In Houston, it only takes an annual salary of $49,983 to af- ford a median-priced home. Dallas Not to be outdone by Hous- ton, the "Big D" remains an economic powerhouse in its own right, and middle-in- come families only need an annual salary of $48,787 to gain entry into this market. $48,787 $49,983 $33,485 $31,716 $33,323 The Winners: These cities may not sound glamorous, but their affordable home prices are quite remarkable—and easily accessible to middle-tier income families. The Home-Buying Power American Dollar

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