US housing prices are still high, but more affordable in Iowa

By Steve Dinnen

Housing has gotten more expensive, by a lot. In just the past four years, calculations by Bankrate.com show that it takes 39.9% more money to afford a median priced home in Iowa.

As of January, you’d need an annual salary of $65,314 to afford that home, compared to just $46,678 four years earlier. Bankrate pegged the median sale price of an Iowa home at $223,500.

That’s relatively good news, since its review of all 50 states showed that an Iowa home is cheaper than nearly any other place in the nation. All neighboring states post higher sale prices than Iowa, and all require a higher annual income to afford one of those homes. At the high end of the scale is California, where it takes $191,057 to afford a median-priced home at $739,000. The lowest state is Mississippi, where it takes $63,043 to afford a median-priced home at $232,800.

Nationally, the median price of a home is now $402,343, requiring an annual income of $110,871. That’s 45.5% than four years ago.

Just for laughs, I happened to scan a news story from Monday’s edition of the Toronto Star that featured a one-bedroom bungalow in that city and listed its selling points (a red roof! two baths and a shower!). In that neighborhood, it was an “entry-level” price at $723,000.

The average price of a stand-alone Toronto home is currently $1,235,000.

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