Priced out of homeownership - 'It makes me want to throw up'

When Nathan Wilkins moved back in with his mother and sister in 2019, he hoped it would help him save money to buy a home.

But in the years since, the US housing market has been transformed by rising rents, surging home prices, and a massive jump in mortgage rates, making homeownership seem like an ever more impossible.

He and his sister are making more money than ever, the 32-year-old insurance adjuster from Utah says. But shelling out $2,500 (£1,960) a month in rent doesn't leave much left over.

“It’s like I’m playing a game that you can’t win,” he says. “The fact that we’re being priced out just makes me want to throw up.”

Such frustrations are spreading, fuelling dissatisfaction and contributing to the widespread pessimism about the US economy that is looming over the country's upcoming election.

The median home sale price in the US has jumped by nearly 30% since the end of 2019, hitting $420,000 this spring.

At a time of rising property values globally, the leap has been one of the most dramatic in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund.

And that's not factoring in the added costs from higher interest rates, which now stand at roughly 7% for the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage that is typical in the US, up from about 3% in 2020.

Homebuyers today need an annual income of more than $100,000 - well above the country's household median of about $75,000 - to comfortably afford a home in most places in the US, research firms such as Zillow and Bankrate say, and face monthly payments that have roughly doubled in just four years.


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