Median home prices in the United States are surging, squeezing out for first-time buyers, while low-income Americans are losing a bigger slice of their household budgets to rising prices. That's what the latest batch of data is revealing about widening inequality in the world's largest economy.
The median sale price of a single-family home in the three months ending June reached a record high of $357,000, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said on August 12. That is nearly 23 percent higher than the same period a year ago.
The housing market continues to be a hotbed of economic activity this year, as aspiring buyers looking to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates find themselves in a tight market where few homes on offer leave sellers calling the shots.
While that helps home sellers build their wealth, it is decidedly not good for renters trying to get a foot on the housing ladder and who increasingly find themselves priced out of the market.
Among first-time buyers, the mortgage payment on a loan requiring a 10 percent downpayment ate up 25 percent of their income in the second quarter, compared to just over 21 percent a year ago.