Well, “roughly”, if you mean 20% less than the median income.
Andreae Downs wrote an article that appeared in yesterday’s Boston Globe. She profiled a married couple who were looking to buy a single-family home, but couldn’t find anything suitable, in their price range ($200,000 – $250,000).
The couple, according to the reporter, “could be a poster family for the ‘Housing Report Card’ … issued last fall, which concluded that few families making the area median income in 2004 could afford the median-priced home”.
Except, they don’t make the median income. They make 80% of the median income.
Between them they earn about $60,000. The federally calculated median income for a family of three in Greater Boston in 2006 was $75,659.
(Why didn’t the Globe find a couple that actually fit in with what they were trying to say?)
If they actually made the median income, $75,000, they’d have another $1,000 per month to put toward housing expenses, making their quest that much easier.
Here’s some historical information for the sales of single-family homes for most of the city of Boston (I excluded single-family homes in downtown Boston (Boston Proper) because those sales would have seriously skewed the data – a single-family home on Beacon Street would run you several million dollars, and isn’t really a single-family home, it’s a townhouse.)
April, 2006: Median Price: $375,000 Average Price: $404,792
April, 2005: Median Price: $360,000 Average Price: $404,759
April, 2004: Median Price: $405,000 Average Price: $408,533
April, 2003: Median Price: $342,500 Average Price: $359,167
April, 2002: Median Price: $315,000 Average Price: $314,609
April, 2001: Median Price: $240,000 Average Price: $259,858
April, 2000: Median Price: $214,000 Average Price: $247,500
April, 1999: Median Price: $171,000 Average Price: $203,206
Source: MLS PIN
My point being, you’d have to go back seven years, into the last millennium, in order to find the time that the median single-family sales price was $200,000, or less. (And, interest rates were higher, and incomes lower, then, too.)
Which was well before this “housing bubble” ever started.
It’s impractical to think they could buy a single-family home. Those who think that is possible probably still read the paper version of the Boston Globe (exactly).
I know, however, that they could find a nice condo for $200,000 – $225,000, in East Boston – I’ve seen them. I’ve also seen them in Dorchester, at $239,000 (floor-throughs, 1000 square feet), near JFK/UMASS (really near JFK/UMASS). I’ve seen them in Chelsea. A nice part of Chelsea.
It very well may be a dream deferred. In fact, it may be a dream unfulfilled, I’m sorry to say. There will always be those who have to rent, unfortunately.
Actually, that raises a good point.
Where are they able to RENT an apartment for $1,200? What kind of shape is it in?
(The story also discusses housing lotteries. In one lottery, six hundred people vied for one of six homes. Does this seem like a realistic way to solve a “housing crisis”? Or, even, a worthwhile endeavor?)
I don’t think the Globe does a service to anyone to use this couple as an example.
If they want to have a serious discussion about the state of the real estate market and the high cost of housing in Massachusetts, I’m available.
Full story: Housing dreams deferred – By Andreae Downs, The Boston Globe