A week before Evanston aldermen consider an affordable housing plan, a new study out today shows that an average family in metro Chicago would spend 23 percent of its income to pay the mortgage on an average home this year.

That’s three percentage points more than it would have cost a quarter century ago — but almost a full percentage point less than what it would have cost in 1982, when mortgage rates peaked. Those figures can be found in an interactive chart that accompanies a story in the online edition of the New York Times today.

The story notes that Chicago is one of the few areas outside the east and west coasts where houses are less affordable today than they were 20 or more years ago, but the increases here have been much less dramatic than in some coastal areas.

By contrast, in Boston the average family would pay 32 percent of its income for the average home, in New York they’d pay 46 percent and in San Francisco the housing bite tops out at 52 percent.

The data, from Moody’s Economy.com, says that nationwide a family earning the median income would have to pay 22 percent of its pre-tax pay this year on mortgage payments to buy the median-priced house.

While prices have risen dramatically, declines in mortgage rates have made homes more affordable across much of the country and moderated the cost pressure in the most expensive areas.

The study does not break out data for individual communities within each metro area.

The city council’s Planning and Development Committee will review proposed affordable housing requirements for new planned developments at a special meeting at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 5.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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