PROVIDENCE – Wage gains in 2012 caused a rise in the number of Rhode Island communities able to afford home ownership, according to figures in the annual HousingWorks RI Housing Fact Book released Friday.
In 2011, six Rhode Island communities had a median household income higher than the median single-family home price. Last year, that number rose to 11, said HousingWorks in its annual report on housing affordability, based on Rhode Island Housing data.
The median home sale prices in Cranston, Johnston, Coventry, East Providence and North Providence all crept below the 2012 median income of $53,636, after exceeding the 2011 median of $52,254 the previous year.
They joined Central Falls, Providence (excluding the East Side), Pawtucket, West Warwick, Woonsocket and Warwick with median prices below the medium income.
However, the number of communities meeting the state’s 10-percent affordability standard for its housing stock dropped to five last year from six in 2011, after East Providence came in at 9.82 percent for the year.
For renters, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Rhode Island rose to $1,176 in 2012, up 2.3 percent from $1,150 in 2011.
HousingWorks, which advocates for subsidized housing, calculated that if all Rhode Island renters paid no more than 30 percent of their incomes on housing, it would have freed up an additional $400 million of spending elsewhere in the economy in 2012.