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Good jobs, pricey homes often go together

Big Data Download

The U.S. regions with strong job demand aren't always the ones with the most affordable homes, and the regions where homes are affordable often have fewer job opportunities, according a new study.

"You think of a nurse, a licensed practical nurse for example, or a software programmer. These are jobs that will be in demand in the future. These are jobs that have fairly high incomes. But when they go to rent the typical two-bedroom apartment, or try to buy a home in San Francisco for example, those homes are unaffordable to them," said Lisa Sturtevant, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy, an advocacy group. "You need to earn $180,000 in San Francisco in order to buy the typical home right now," Sturtevant said.

Demand for software developers and nurses is particularly high, as "Big Data Download" previously reported. But those jobs tend to be concentrated in areas where home ownership isn't affordable.

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Of the 207 metro areas the Center for Housing Policy studied, San Francisco, San Jose, Boston and New York were the least affordable places to live, according to the center's recent report.

Only homes that tie up no more than 28 percent of a household's annual gross income are deemed affordable, according to the Center for Housing Policy.

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"The most affordable then are in places where the housing market hasn't turned around quite yet. And the local economy still hasn't rebounded from the recession," Sturtevant noted. "Places like Detroit and Flint in Michigan, Toledo and Dayton in Ohio and Wheeling, W. Va., these all ranked among the most affordable when you compare wages to home ownership costs," Sturtevant said.

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