The idea of the starter home was once as American as apple pie — but as prices and mortgage rates skyrocket, entry-level homes are becoming increasingly out of reach for a large swath of the population.

A recent study from Point2Homes.com in October found that renters in just four large US metros — Detroit, Tulsa, Memphis, and Oklahoma City — earned 100% or more of what they need to afford an entry-level home. Just a month ago, two more cities — Kansas City, Mo., and Baltimore — were on the list. And the price of an entry-level home was $200,000 or less in just 15 of the 50 largest U.S. cities.

"Once upon a time, nearly 70% of all new builds were starter homes — single-family houses with 1,400 square feet or less that started at $6,990. But that was in the 1940s," says Point2Homes's Andra Hopulele. "Fast forward to 1980 and that share fell to 40%. Then, in 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that a mere 7% of all new homes were represented by the small, entry-level homes that are affordable for first-time buyers — and the prices aren't even remotely similar."

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