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Housing costs outpace incomes

October 12, 2008|Lauren Beale | Times Staff Writer

OK, penny pinchers, it's not just your imagination. It has gotten increasingly expensive to own a home in relation to income, and mortgage payments are only part of the picture.

A national study released Wednesday, "Stretched Thin: The Impact of Rising Housing Expenses on America's Owners and Renters," looks at the costs of housing beyond home loans from 1996 to 2006.

The Center for Housing Policy study found that all major types of homeowner-related expenses rose faster than incomes during that decade.

Among findings from the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference, mortgage payments rose 46%, utilities 43%, property taxes 66% and homeowner insurance 83%, while homeowner incomes increased only 36.3%.

Renters didn't fare much better. Rents rose 51% during the 10-year period studied, while renters' incomes rose only 31.4%.

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