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Austin one of least affordable cities for teachers to buy houses

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Recently, The Wall Street Journal published some housing statistics from national real estate brokerage "Redfin."

Redfin wanted to find out where in the U.S. a teacher could afford to buy a house.
Rounding out the top 10 least affordable places -- 5 cities in California, 4 in Colorado...and you guessed it -- Austin, Texas.

"A teacher comes out of the University of Texas, they start teaching in Austin, they're living in an apartment.  They get through the first 2 or 3 years, they love what they're doing.  They decide to have a family and get married.  They can't live in Austin anymore.  So the first thing they have to do is find a job somewhere else and that's a shame," said Brock Gregg.

Gregg is the Governmental Relations Director for the Association of Texas Professional Educators.

They work through the legislature to help get the state to better fund education...that includes better salaries for teachers.  He says here in Texas, 50% of educators leave the profession during the first 5 years.

"It's going to require communities and in particular businesses to step up and recognize that there is a problem and either provide for housing like they should here in Austin or provide for salaries where teachers can live close to where they work," Gregg said.

    According to the data from Redfin, the median salary for Austin teachers is about $46,000.

    The maximum affordable house price -- $160,000.

    Unfortunately for teachers...the median list price in Austin -- $347,000

    Only 8% of homes in the city -- teachers can actually afford.

We caught up with Keller Williams real estate agent Bobby Mello at an open house for one of his listings.

He's been in the business for 35 years and has seen the ups and downs in the Austin market...with prices going way up over the last couple of years.

"It's across the board for the most part so even the less desirable neighborhoods have seen a large run up in prices.  And again, why?  It's because a lot of people who couldn't afford the better neighborhoods have spilled over to neighborhoods that normally wouldn't have had that kind of demand...more bid wars, and as a result prices have been shooting up, shooting up, shooting up," Mello said.

Mello says something else that makes it harder for teachers to that investors who aren't even from Austin will often want to pay in cash.

"It's going to be hard for them to compete against a cash investor who can close in a week," Mello said.

Mello says just like all of the other ups and downs, this huge demand won't last forever.

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