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Chicago Renters Only Make 69% Of The Income Needed To Afford Starter Homes

The average income of renters in Chicago isn’t quite enough to allow them to afford an entry-level home. And as long as interest rates stay high and inventory is low, that is likely to remain the case.


As of October, when interest rates were 7%, the average household income needed to cover a mortgage for a Chicago starter home was $63.4K. But the average income of renters was $43.6K, according to Point2Homes research.

That means Chicago renters make only 69% of the income needed to become first-time homeowners, according to Axios reporting on the study.

Point2Homes data indicates the average cost of a Chicago starter home is $204.7K, a figure that effectively prices out many renters given rising interest rates and shrinking single-family housing stock.

Only 15 of the 50 largest U.S. cities offered average starter homes for less than $200K, the traditional affordability cutoff for first-time homeowners.

Rising mortgage interest rates, high housing prices and limited inventory are all making it harder for people to buy their first homes, according to the report, which says "the modest, bare-bones homes of yesteryear have become the stuff of myths and legends."

Whereas about 70% of all new builds were starter homes in the 1940s and 40% in the 1980s, the percentage had fallen to 7% by 2019, according to Census Bureau figures.

"Renters’ homeownership dreams don’t match the reality in almost any of the large U.S. housing markets," the report's authors said.

Earlier this year, Business Insider reported that first-time homeowners across the country were struggling to afford the typical 20% down payment on a home, which averaged $78.4K based on median home prices when the article was published in March.

Related Topics: Point2Homes