(NEXSTAR) – U.S. home sales fell in September for the eighth straight month, and thanks to high prices and soaring mortgage rates, things aren’t getting easier for first-time home buyers.
Real estate site Point2Homes.com looked at the 50 largest cities in the U.S. and calculated whether or not a renter could, on average, comfortably afford the median starter home.
Texas fared better than some states, but still didn’t have a single city where the average first home reached the affordability threshold.
The study found that only four major U.S. cities fit that criteria after mortgage rates jumped to 7 percent in October: Detroit, Tulsa, Memphis, and Oklahoma City.
Since August, when rates were closer to 5.5%, Kansas City, Missouri and Baltimore have both fallen off the list of affordable cities. To qualify, the monthly mortgage payment had to be no more than 30% of a renter’s household income, assuming a 20% down payment.
The most affordable city in Texas was Houston in 15th place, with a median starter home price of $196,661 and a median renter income of $41,364, which was 69% of the money required to comfortably afford the mortgage payments. In 17th place was Dallas with a median home price of $221,140 and income of $45,047.
|City/Affordability Rank of 50||Median Starter Home Price||Median Income||Renter Household Income % of Income Required w/ 7% Rate|
|El Paso (20)||$156,454||$32,231||63%|
|Fort Worth (21)||$232,034||$44,238||63%|
|San Antonio (25)||$217,069||$38,554||58%|
For the breakdown of all 50 cities and the full methodology see the report on the Point2Homes site.
Higher mortgage rates reduce homebuyers’ purchasing power, resulting in fewer people being able to afford to buy a home. Consider, a buyer who got a 3% rate on a 30-year mortgage to buy a $300,000 home last year would only be able to borrow $190,000 today for the same monthly payment.
“This is why the buyers have essentially been pushed out of the market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.
Mortgage rates have risen sharply along with the 10-year Treasury yield, which has been climbing amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep hiking interest rates in its bid to bring down inflation. The 10-year yield reached its highest level since June 2008 last week.
In September, U.S. home sales fell 1.5% from the month before and 23.8% from the torrid pace of the previous year, according to the NAR. First-time buyers made up 29% of sales for the second month in a row.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.