Dec 19, 2022 - Real Estate

Starter homes are more affordable in Detroit than most other cities

Cities where renters <span style="background:  #1ac074; padding:3px 5px;color:white;">do</span> or  <span style="background: #8e8e8e; padding:3px 5px;color:white;">don’t</span> meet  income requirements for a starter home mortgage
Data: Point2Homes; Map: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

Detroit is one of only four large U.S. cities where renters could recently afford a starter home.

  • An analysis by the real estate website Point2Homes considered "starter homes" properties valued in the lower one-third of all available homes for sale.

Why it matters: The city offers relatively affordable home buying opportunities at a time when higher housing costs nationally present obstacles for first-time buyers.

  • In September, a typical Detroit starter home cost $48,129.

Reality check: Some homes for sale under $50,000 are foreclosures. Others need a lot of work to be liveable.

By the numbers: In October, Detroit renters made 31% more than the income they would need to buy a starter home, according to the analysis.

  • Renters in the Motor City earned a household income of $25,004 on average, while the yearly income needed to cover a mortgage was $19,103.

Between the lines: Despite the relative affordability of Detroit homes, 45% of local mortgage applications were incomplete, withdrawn or denied in 2020, according to Detroit Future City.

  • Poor credit makes it more difficult to obtain a mortgage.
  • Detroit Future City recently published a report offering step-by-step advice to ensure mortgage lenders aren't unfairly using your credit history against you.

The big picture: The share of first-time home buyers across the United States has shrunk to a record low, according to the National Association of Realtors.

  • First-time buyers made up 26% of all buyers in 2022, down from 34% last year, the group found.

Go deeper: 3 reasons it's getting harder for renters to buy


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