For the third straight year, the Tampa Bay Region has earned a dismal D+ for the ability for middle-class residents to afford middle-class homes, according to a new study by Interest.com.
So what does that mean? It means a person making the median income in the Tampa Bay area, $45,880 a year, cannot afford the median-priced home, which in Tampa Bay is $156,000. Basically, the middle class can’t even afford to be the middle class. Ouch.
What makes this study even worse for the region is that Tampa Bay is the tenth worst out of the 25 metropolitan areas studied. That puts Tampa behind well-known money pits the likes of Las Angelas, San Diego, San Fransisco and New York.
While the overall affordability score for Tampa Bay has remained the same since 2012, there has been some improvement. The scores are based on where a region lies in comparison to a resident’s ability to purchase a median-priced home on a median salary. Right now Tampa Bay sits at 2.66 percent below what it needed to make that threshold, but last year that number was 4.47 percent.
The problem here isn’t with home prices, though. Tampa sits as one of the most affordable places to buy a home. The median price of just about $150,000 puts the most expensive city, San Fransisco, to shame. To buy an average home there one would have to pony up almost three-quarters of a million. Tampa Bay ranks fourth in home affordability when not considering income. Pittsburgh is the cheapest place to buy a home with average values at $143,690.
It’s all about income. Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Detroit are the only three cities studied with home prices cheaper than Tampa. Though all three of those cities passed, they weren’t top contenders for the most affordable. That honor went to Minneapolis, where home values soar to more than $200,000, but median income keeps up at more than $67,000 a year.
In contrast, Tampa’s median income is dead last in a list of 25 metro areas analyzed by the U.S. Census bureau. The median income for women is even worse, at just $36,773.
The take away? If you want an average home, you better have an above average job.