In just one year-and-a-half, housing prices nationwide have risen by 20% while community workers' wages remain flat, according to a study on homeownership and renting affordability in nearly 200 metropolitan areas and over 60 occupations."Paycheck to Paycheck: Wages and the Cost of Housing in America," a study released by the Center for Housing Policy, a research affiliate of the National Housing Conference, found that from fourth quarter 2003 to first quarter 2005 the cost of a median priced home increased from $186,000 to $225,000, or 20%. At the same time the annual income needed to qualify to purchase a home grew from $54,855 to $71,354. Meanwhile the wages for key community workers such as elementary school teachers, police officers, licensed practical nurses, retail salespersons and janitors in the majority of cities nationwide remained flat and, in some metropolitan areas, significantly below the amount needed to purchase a home.

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