(Source: AZCentral): Catherine Reagor – Metro Phoenix continues to drop lower on lists of the most affordable big cities in which to buy a home.
Because of steadily rising home prices, the Valley now ranks 19th among the top 50 U.S. metro areas. The list, by national mortgage firm HSH.com, indicates where buyers earning the median income have the easiest time affording a median-priced home.
Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Indianapolis, in that order, are the three most affordable major metros for affording a home.
San Jose, San Francisco and San Diego are the three least affordable areas.
The Phoenix area ranked among the top 10 most affordable major metros in which to buy houses until this summer, when it fell to No. 17.
Valley home prices have climbed almost 9 percent during the past year.
A metro Phoenix homebuyer must earn $48,426 a year to afford a $249,000 home with a 20 percent downpayment on a mortgage with a 4 percent interest rate, according to HSH.
The median household income in the Phoenix area was $58,075 in 2016, according to the latest Census data. For the region to climb back up the housing affordability list, incomes have to climb faster than home prices.
Valley buyers qualifying for mortgages with only a 10 percent downpayment need to earn $56,658 a year to afford the median-priced home, according to HSH.
Many first-time buyers can take out FHA mortgages that require downpayments below 5 percent, but the ranking doesn’t include those calculations.
Despite dropping in the ranking, Phoenix is still the most affordable metro area in the West in which to buy a home. Las Vegas, ranked No. 21, was the next most affordable.
Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland (Oregon), Denver, Sacramento and Salt Lake City also are ranked among the top 25 least-affordable U.S. cities by HSH.com.