Only One U.S. City Affordable for Middle Class First-Time Home Buyers: Pittsburgh, PA  

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - city in the United States. Shadyside district residential neigh
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First-time homebuyers who earn middle-class paychecks have been pushed out of cities across the United States, says a report from the Urban Reform Institute and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. The only exception is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the report said.

The San Francisco Chronicle detailed how unaffordable cities in California are and included additional details about the study, which looked at housing around the world:

The finding that the East Coast city now stands alone in the “affordable” category in the 2022 Demographia International Housing Affordability report was “surprising,” according to Wendell Cox, a senior fellow at the Urban Reform Institute in Houston and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Canada, which jointly issued the report 

“Housing affordability in virtually all markets has worsened in the last couple of years as a result of the pandemic related ‘demand shock,’” Cox said. “This huge increase in demand relative to supply has occurred as households have sought larger houses and yards.

The report, based on data from the third quarter of 2021, used the price-to-income ratio, or median house price divided by the gross median household income, to rate middle-income housing affordability. The lower the ratio, referred to as the “median multiple,” the more affordable a market is.

Affordable housing is especially important because of the surge in remote work, but according to the National Association of Home Builders almost 70 percent of households in the U.S. can’t afford the median-priced house.

Pittsburgh also comes in as the single most affordable city in the world compared to city markets in Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The median home price on Redfin in Pittsburgh is $231,700.

U.S. major housing markets ranked by affordability

Rankings are based on the “median multiple” or price-to-income ratio.


Rank Market Median multiple
1 Pittsburgh, PA 2.7
2 Oklahoma City, OK 3.3
2 Rochester, NY 3.3
4 St. Louis, MO-IL 3.6
5 Cleveland, OH 3.7
6 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 3.8
7 Buffalo, NY 3.9
8 Kansas City, MO-KS 4.0
8 Louisville, KY-IN 4.0
8 Tulsa, OK 4.0
11 Detroit, MI 4.1
11 Hartford, CT 4.1
13 Grand Rapids, MI 4.2
13 Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC 4.2
15 Columbus, OH 4.3
15 Indianapolis. IN 4.3
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI 4.3
18 Baltimore, MD 4.4
18 Philadelphia, PA-NJ-DE-MD 4.4
20 Atlanta, GA 4.5

Source: Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Urban Reform Institute

Last year three other cities were rated affordable along with Pittsburgh — Rochester and Buffalo, New York, and St. Louis, Missouri.

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