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Report: Housing Costs “Going Through the Roof”

September 13, 2007

New Census Bureau statistics show the cost of housing in Minnesota is emptying a lot of wallets. Barb Jacobs with the Minnesota Housing Partnership describes the crisis facing many of the state's families.

"More homeowners in Minnesota are unable to afford the homes they're living in. Between 2005 and 2006, there was about a three percent increase in the amount of income that homeowners are paying towards their mortgages."

Jacobs explains that the trend has been underway for years and, since wages aren't keeping up with cost of living increases, housing becomes increasingly unaffordable. Mortgage payments require greater and greater percentages of a family's income.

"The number of mortgaged homes in which households were paying more than half of their income on housing has increased about 128 percent between 2002 and 2006. This is a substantial gain."

She adds part of the problem has been the liberal amount of sub-prime lending in recent years. It has led not only to the home foreclosure crisis, but also has affected the prices of rental housing. However, Jacobs says there are ways to make housing more reasonably-priced and accessible.

"It is critical that Minnesota begin investing in additional affordable living arrangements, to provide Minnesota families with reasonably priced rental homes as the credit crunch continues to displace them."

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN