In cities, “starter homes” getting more difficult to find

Report say homes under $150K are increasingly rare, and more than ever are listed at $1M+

More and more homebuyers and investors are coming to the negotiating table with cash in hand. (iStock)

Looking for a starter home in the big city? Good luck.

The metro areas of San Francisco, Irvine and Oakland, California as well as Gilbert, Arizona and Henderson, Nevada had no homes listed for $150,000 or less — considered a “starter home” price — the New York Times reported.

In fact, according to the report it cited by Redfin, only two big cities had a share of “affordable” homes on the market greater than 10 percent: Mesa, Arizona, and St. Petersburg, Florida.

The scale of affordability fell drastically after that, with just 5 percent of those homes listed in Dallas and Tampa, the next two cities on the list, in that low price range.

At the other end of the spectrum, nearly 8.2 percent of homes in the United States are now worth more than $1 million — up from 4.8 percent two years ago.

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The higher prices could mean the dream of owning a home could become less achievable.

“The basic need for housing is so critical and essential,” Doug Ressler, the manager of business intelligence for Yardi Matrix, a division of Point2’s parent company, Yardi Systems, told the Times. “Right now, the thought is that the affordability of homes is declining.”

Point2 looked into the price of homes in the 50 most populous U.S. cities with the highest median costs in the last week of March on its own real estate website along with Zillow, Redfin and, then ranked them by the share of listings below $150,000.

The results revealed cities can have substantially different markets even if they are located near each other. Mesa, Arizona had nearly 15 percent of its on-the-market homes in the affordable range while neighboring Gilbert had zero.

Those differences were chalked up to public policies that push the creation of below-market housing, according to Ressler.

[NY Times] — Vince DiMiceli