What it takes to buy: $88k
The nonprofit Center for Housing Policy said yesterday that the price of a typical local home last summer was $269,000, too expensive for a nurse, an elementary school teacher, a police officer, a retail sales employee and workers in many other jobs. Though the median price of new and existing homes fell 2 percent from a year earlier, the decline was far too small to close a gap that widened markedly during the run-up in prices earlier in the decade.
With a 10 percent down payment, a Baltimore-area buyer last summer needed to earn about $88,000 to stay within the recommended limit for housing costs - no more than 30 percent of income, according to the Center for Housing Policy's "Paycheck to Paycheck" report.
Plenty of two-income families buy homes, of course. But the National Association of Home Builders says that the typical family in the Baltimore metro area could afford fewer than half of the homes sold last summer, compared with seven out of 10 in 2000.
The full impact of the slump is complex, of course. I included some examples of the affordability upsides and downsides in the story.