The price trends for rent and homeownership make it more economical to buy a home rather than rent in many markets, but just try getting a mortgage loan.
"Even as housing prices have recovered, rents in many areas have been climbing even faster, tilting the math in these cities toward buying versus renting," writes Fortune's Chris Matthews
"But as the housing finance industry continues to absorb the effects of the housing bust and the subsequent regulatory response, lenders are still gun shy about getting involved in residential real estate."
The problem: "the gap between what the average Americans can afford and the median sales price is much larger than it had been prior to the housing bubble," Matthews explains. "This is largely because lenders are being extremely picky about whom they lend to."
Only people with stellar credit — FICO scores above 720 — are receiving the majority of new loans. In 2000, before the real estate bubble began, the distribution was much more even.
Home prices have risen steadily risen during the past three years, and that's a good thing for homeowners and those working or investing in the residential real estate industry.
But wage gains, haven't kept pace, and that's making homes unaffordable for many of us. The median price for an existing home rose 7.5 percent in the 12 months through February to $202,600.
Meanwhile, average hourly wages climbed only 2.1 percent in the 12 months through March, matching the average pace since the economic recovery began in June 2009. That leaves average pay at just $24.86 an hour.
So when it comes to housing, while "most markets are still affordable, we're getting to a point where if that trend continues the markets may be in danger," Daren Blomquist, vice president of real estate research firm RealtyTrac, tells MSNBC
In some markets, such as South Florida, home prices already are out of reach for many workers. Interestingly enough, this phenomenon has pushed rental prices higher, as those who can't afford to buy homes are renting.
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