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Rising house prices mean Atlantans must make more to buy

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With a hot housing market across the metro, Atlantans now need to make an additional $3,300 a year

The numbers don't fib: Metro Atlanta homes are still some of the most affordable digs that big-city buyers are likely to find, when compared to other major markets throughout the United States.

But a new study by HSH.com indicates that rising home costs are beginning to push some prospective purchasers who make less than $40,000 a year out of Atlanta's buying zone.

According to the study, year-over-year home prices in the metro have risen by 5.79 percent, bringing the total required to purchase a home (with 20 percent down) to $40,092. The amount represents a $3,300 increase — a rather staggering 14 percent — since the first quarter of the year.

And while Atlanta is still among the top 10 most affordable major metros in the United States — and the ATL's average is still way below the national average of $52,000 — affordability here doesn’t come close to cities like Pittsburgh ($32,390), Cleveland ($34,433), or Cincinnati ($37,179). But then again, those aren't exactly Sun Belt hotspots.

With limited housing stock, and the metro area's tendency to pack on tens of thousands of new residents per year, the squeeze could continue to build for those at the lower end of the income scale.

Compounding matters in the City of Atlanta proper are the high rents that seem to keep going up despite a major boom in apartment construction. That could make home-buying more alluring — and some studies suggest more renters in Atlanta can afford to buy properties than they're letting on — but again, home prices.

And thus, the squeeze.