WASHINGTON — When home sales weaken, prices typically do, too, and buyers benefit.
Not quite this time. Home purchases in many areas of the country have dipped, and price gains have slowed. Yet a rising number of middle-class Americans are finding that home ownership is unaffordable.
Why? Mortgage rates are up after years near historic lows. Price increases have been outrunning paychecks. And at a target price that families with a median income could afford, fewer homes are for sale.
In the past year, the availability of homes that a middle-class family could buy has declined in 86 percent of the largest metro areas, according to an analysis of 49 cities being released Wednesday by the real estate brokerage Redfin and provided in advance to The Associated Press.