Wisconsin Public Radio

City Ranks High for Home Buyers

Milwaukee is nation’s seventh most affordable metro market for first-time home buyers, study finds.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Jan 8th, 2019 11:10 am
Homes along Auer Avenue. Photo by Carl Baehr.

Homes along Auer Avenue. Photo by Carl Baehr.

Wisconsin home buyers in the market for something affordable don’t have far to go.

Milwaukee is the seventh most affordable metropolitan market in the country, according to new research by conservative Washington, D.C.-based think-tank The American Enterprise Institute.

The city has a median home price of $170,000 and median household income of $64,000. Pittsburgh is the most affordable city with a median home price of $143,000 and median household income of $60,000, according to AEI.

Of the 10 most affordable areas, seven are in the Midwest, two are in the south and one is in the northeast. Of the 10 least affordable, all are in the west, with six in California.

The least affordable city is San Jose, California, with the median price for a home $650,000 and the median household income $126,000.

AEI looked at actual home prices and borrower incomes for the 2017 first-time home buyer government guaranteed loan transactions for its study.

Slow population growth in older industrial cities like Milwaukee have kept Midwestern cities affordable, said Edward Pinto, of AEI’s center on Housing Markets and Finance. Land use restrictions on the West Coast have increased the price of construction and home costs, Pinto added.

The size of the homes are consistent across the country. The median finished square footages for first-time home buyer homes in the 10 most affordable cities averaged 1,363 square feet. In the most expensive cities the homes were only slightly larger, averaging 1,428 square feet. Incomes were 51 percent higher in the 10 least affordable cities than the 10 most affordable ($92,000 versus $61,000), but the higher home prices canceled out the extra income, Pinto said.

Pinto says cities with affordable housing should use it to attract out of state business.

“The cities need to understand that each city has something attractive if they can market it and we think affordable housing is something they can use as part of their marketing package,” Pinto said.

Pinto spent two years living in Milwaukee. He now lives in Florida and says he’s enjoying the warm weather.

Listen to the WPR report here.

Milwaukee One Of Most Affordable Metros For First-Time Home Buyers was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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