$40,092.12. That’s the amount you need to earn annually in order to afford a median-priced house in Atlanta, according to mortgage-tracker HSH.com.
That number’s up 5.79 percent in the 12-month period the company measured.
But economist Tom Smith with Emory’s Goizueta Business School says: this change is good. Or, more accurately, it’s neither good nor bad. It simply indicates the economy re-balancing itself after the recession.
Just after the housing market bubble collapsed, he says, metro Atlanta saw a typical pattern: “Rental rates start to climb, and the mortgage that you’d be required to have a house, would start to fall. Then they catch back up once the economy starts going in a good direction, and I think that’s what you’re seeing here, as well.”
He adds that when it comes to costs of living, a snapshot like this survey shouldn’t be mistaken for the big picture.
“Look at the cost of gasoline. Look at the average number of minutes commuting to or from your job to see how we fare, in terms of our overall standard of living, not just the rental costs or the mortgage costs.”
Of the 27 cities analyzed, San Francisco required the highest annual earnings to buy a house: $161,000. At $32,000, Pittsburgh was the lowest.
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