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These are the most affordable cities for renters to become homeowners

Housing prices are close to record highs as borrowing costs are just about the cheapest they have ever been. Yet despite low mortgage rates, the percentage of people owning a home is the lowest it has been in over half a century. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show the homeownership rate below 63%, its lowest level since 1965.

“Incomes have had difficulty keeping up with the pace of house price increases,” explained Danielle Hale, director of statistics at the National Association of Realtors (NAR). “Even though jobs are growing and mortgage rates remain low, affordability is a challenge for renters across the country.”

Nonetheless, there are some markets where a sizeable percentage of renters can afford to buy the median-priced home.

City Share of renters who can afford to buy a home
1. Toledo, OH 46%
2. Little Rock, AR 46%
3. Dayton, OH 44%
4. Lakeland, FL 41%
5. St. Louis, MO 41%
6. Columbia, SC 41%
7. Atlanta, GA 40%
8. Columbus, OH 38%
9. Tampa, FL 38%
10. Ogden, UT 38%

Source: National Association of Realtors

Besides affordability, one factor for inclusion on the NAR’s list is future employment prospects.

“Each of the cities that are on this list had to have job growth that was above the national average,” Hale said.

A large share of affordable cities is found primarily in the South and Midwest. “They all have strong job markets,” said Hale. Those are also where she expects new entrants to the list in coming years. “Louisville, Memphis, Chattanooga… might be on the list in the future.”