It takes two now to buy a home

Double-digit inflation has made americans in the market for their first home an endangered species while elevating two-income families into the majority among homebuyers, a new study reported Wednesday.

The study, prepared by the United States League of Savings Association, said that last year, for the first time ever, more than half of the home-buying families -- 54 percent -- had to rely on two incomes.

The study concluded that special tax-free savings accounts and widespread use of novel mortgage payment plans are needed to keep first- time home home buyers from dwindling even more.

According to the league survey, runaway inflation pushed the average price of a home in the United States up 31.8 percent between 1977 and 1979, to $58,000. During the same period, the cost of maintaining a house -- mortgage payments, utilities, real-estate taxes, and the like -- jumped from $400 a month to $550 a month.

The area of the country with the highest housing costs was the West, where the average price of a new home was $73,000. The South was the cheapest, at $52 ,000.

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