Archive for Sunday, August 24, 2003

Affordability test: Income, debt play big roles in qualifying for loan

August 24, 2003

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Opinions are mixed on whether the rising price of homes in Lawrence is pushing people out of the market. Here's a look at a handful of hypothetical people and whether they could afford the average-priced house in Lawrence. For July, the average sale price for homes in Lawrence, not including North Lawrence, was $168,452 according to the Douglas County appraiser.

For Shawnee County, the average price was $118,512. In Jefferson County, it was $103,667.

The calculations assume each person has about $8,000 in savings, or enough to put down about a 5 percent down payment on the average Lawrence home.

All calculations are based on a calculator program found at Mortgage-Calc.com and assume an interest rate of 6.625 percent, which is near the current average rate in Lawrence.

  • The average Lawrence family: The average Lawrence family -- which in 2002 had an income of $56,000, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development -- would qualify for the average Lawrence home quite handily. According to the mortgage calculator, the family could afford a home selling for $177,000.

But if the family is carrying the average amount of credit card debt -- estimated to be $8,000 by Cardweb.com, a Web site that monitors the credit card industry -- they can forget about the average Lawrence home. Instead, they would have to settle for a home selling for $143,500 or less.

¢ The first-year Lawrence public school teacher: A rookie teacher for the Lawrence public school system, who makes an average salary of $26,825, would fall well short of being able to buy the average Lawrence home. The teacher, if he or she has no debt, would qualify for a home selling for $91,115.

With average credit card debt, the teacher would qualify only for a $25,381 loan.

  • The average Kansas University professor: With an average salary of $84,600, the professor can do much better than a humble abode in Lawrence. The professor would qualify for a $273,150 home. With average debt, the sale price would fall to $259,400.
  • A worker earning a proposed living wage: City commissioners are considering requiring companies that receive tax abatements to pay all their workers a living wage of at least $9.53 an hour. In Lawrence, that wage wouldn't come close to allowing workers to live in the average-priced home. Instead, the worker would have to find a home for $69,000 or less.

But if the worker was carrying average debt, he or she probably wouldn't qualify for a loan at all, according to the calculator.

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