Affordable Sticker Shock — Climbing home and rental prices hurting chances of poorer people putting roofs over their heads | Jim Parker

Coast to coast, the housing industry currently favors the home seller as prices are rising, sales surging and inventories dwindling — which leave the residences on the market more valuable.

Take Seattle as a caffeinated example.

The northwest city of 3.5 million people boasts the hottest housing market in the country since last fall, according to the Case-Shiller home price index and reported this summer in the Seattle Times. The typical single-family house in metro Seattle cost 12.9 percent more in April than a year ago, the report notes.

Other fast-rising markets are Portland, Oregon; Dallas; Denver; and Detroit, up 9.3 to 7.4 percent respectively. Those totals compare with a 5.5 percent national price growth rate.

What’s good for owners and well-off buyers can be doubly troubling for at least one group: lower income property shoppers including first-time homebuyers who can’t afford average and midpoint home prices or apartment rents.

According to studies, the nation has been suffering from an affordable housing crisis. Most hurt are an estimated 11.4 million “extremely low-income” American households, which earn below the poverty line, or at 30 percent or less of the area’s median income.

A new report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition picked out eight states that count fewer than 30 affordable homes available for each 100 households in “extreme poverty.”

The tightest situation is in Nevada, which estimates 15 homes available per 100 extremely low-income renters, the report says.

“There is a dire shortage of affordable housing in Nevada,” Leanna Garfield, of Business Insider on, wrote in an article this spring on the national housing market. Nevada saw its economy jump after the 2008 recession, “but the state’s housing market hasn’t kept up with its recent influx of new residents, especially in cities like Las Vegas…

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