Registered Nurses Priced Out of Housing Market
Washington -Registered nurses are being priced out of the U.S. housing market in most major U.S. metropolitan areas.
A new report by the Center for Housing Policy and Homes for Working Families says fewer RNs qualify to buy a median-priced home in most metropolitan areas. The situation is worst for low-wage earners like nursing aides and home health workers, who are being priced out in all metro areas studied, the Washington-based organizations said.
Registered nurses would not qualify to purchase a home in 115 of these markets and physical therapists would not qualify in 104 markets. In addition, licensed practical nurses would not qualify to purchase a home in 187 of the 202 metro areas studied.
The center's national study found that an annual income of $84,957 was needed to "qualify [for a mortgage] to purchase the median priced home of $248,000 in the third quarter of 2006."
The center's database said the annual income needed to qualify for a mortgage was calculated using the "average prevailing interest rate, assumes a 10 percent down payment, the use of private mortgage insurance and includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance."
Registered nurses, who have seen their wages increased in recent years amid a nationwide nurse shortage, still have a median salary of $58,640 that falls below the center's annual income figure needed. Other professions falling short of the necessary qualifying salary were licensed practical nurses, $37,127; physical therapists, $62,417; and home health aides, $20,414.
The groups say the situation could make a registered nursing shortage worse in many large U.S. markets if these communities are unable to attract medical professionals because they cannot afford to buy their own home.
"With Americans living longer and the Baby Boomer generation aging, our communities will need more registered nurses to meet the growing demand," said Center Chairman Kent Colton, who is also a senior scholar at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.
The groups put studies such as this out to help draw the attention of local, state and federal lawmakers and policymakers to affordable-housing issues. The Center for Housing Policy is a research affiliate of National Housing Conference, a non-profit housing advocacy group. Homes for Working Families is also a non-profit advocacy group.
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Liz Di Bernardo