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How Costly Is the American Dream of Homeownership?

Achieving the American Dream of homeownership has become more expensive than ever, according to a study published by PropertyClub.

The study, which analyzed real estate prices in the 50 largest cities across the country over the past 20 years as well as the income required to purchase a home in each city, indicated that cities on the West Coast had become more expensive than ever.

For example, in 1999 earning $76,414 per year was enough to afford a home in San Francisco. Today, a household must earn at least $308,763 to buy a home. The study indicated that home prices in the Golden Gate City had risen 304 percent over the past two decades.

However, the nation's capital, Washington, D.C. has seen the highest jump in home prices at 412 percent over the past two decades. New York City, on the other hand, saw a 225 percent increase. The increasing number of government jobs would continue to push the prices in Washington, D.C., the study indicated.

Cleveland is the only city where the average price of a single-family home is lower today than in 1999, the study revealed. The average home price in this city in 1999 was $63,600 compared with $54,900 today, a decline of 14 percent.

Apart from Cleveland, the study indicated that homebuyers could also look at living in Memphis, Albuquerque, Wichita, and Columbus, all of which have seen only modest home price gains over the past 20 years. In all these cities, the average American household could afford to buy a home in just three years if they saved 30 percent of their income.

On the other hand, it would take the average household almost 81 years to be able to afford a home in San Francisco if they saved 30 percent of their annual income. Similarly, it would take 62 years to save enough to buy a home in San Jose, and 43 years in Los Angeles.

Click here to read the full study.

About Author: Radhika Ojha

Radhika Ojha is an independent writer and copy-editor, and a reporter for DS News. She is a graduate of the University of Pune, India, where she received her B.A. in Commerce with a concentration in Accounting and Marketing and an M.A. in Mass Communication. Upon completion of her masters degree, Ojha worked at a national English daily publication in India (The Indian Express) where she was a staff writer in the cultural and arts features section. Ojha, also worked as Principal Correspondent at HT Media Ltd and at Honeywell as an executive in corporate communications. She and her husband currently reside in Houston, Texas.
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