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How Much Home Can a Teacher Afford?

Teachers across the country might be winning the right to earn higher wages, yet housing affordability remains a huge concern for the nation's educators according to a study by Redfin. According to the study, In 2018, 11.5 percent of all homes for sale across 28 metros were affordable on an average teacher's salary of $62,860. This is a decrease from 19.7 percent homes being affordable for teachers in 2016.

For the study, Redfin used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the average salary by metropolitan area for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers. Based on these average salaries, the study then looked at all multiple listing service (MLS) listings active on the market in each metro as of May 1, 2018, along with the estimated property tax rates. These data points along with current homeowners association (HOA) dues, and the property tax rate for each listing were used to calculate the estimated monthly mortgage cost and determined the percentage of homes where the monthly mortgage payment was equal to or less than the max monthly mortgage payment possible on the average teacher’s salary.

So which cities are the most affordable for teachers? The study found that 39 percent of homes for sale were affordable for teachers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, making it the top ranking city for teachers in terms of home affordability. This was despite the overall affordability of homes going down 12.4 percent since 2012. The median sale price of homes in this city were $164,000 and teachers could afford homes priced at around $210,000 in Pittsburgh.

Detroit, Michigan earned the second spot on this list with a median sale price for homes at $127,000 and teachers being able to afford homes valued at an average of $237,000 in the Motor City. Average teacher salaries in Detroit were $68,500 and 35.4 percent of all homes were affordable for educators in this city. Coming in third was Cleveland, Ohio where 33.4 percent homes were affordable for teachers who earned an average salary of $62,000. The median sale price for homes in the city was $127,000, while the maximum home price that teachers could afford here was pegged at $210,000.

However, home affordability in both Detroit and Cleveland has seen a steep decline since 2012. While affordability in Detroit decreased 24.2 percent, it fell 20.8 percent in Cleveland.

With 29 percent homes that were affordable to local teachers earning a salary of $53,800 and a median home price of $170,000, St. Louis in Montana earned the fourth spot on the list. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania rounded off the top five with 25 percent homes affordable to local teachers earning a salary of around $70,000.

Joining these five cities were Baltimore, Maryland; Kansas City, Montana; San Antonio, Texas; Tampa, Florida; and Atlanta Georgia.

Denver, Colorado was at the bottom of this list with only 0.3 percent of homes affordable for local teachers earning a salary of $54,500, the study found. Joining Denver were Oakland, California; and Phoenix, Arizona.

In fact, the study revealed that the recently approved 20 percent raises in teachers' salaries in Phoenix, would increase their maximum home-buying budget from $130,000 to $170,000, and would more than double the share of Phoenix homes affordable to them from 0.5 percent to 1.1 percent.

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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