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Many employed veterans unable to afford typical mortgage

Veterans returning from service struggle to find jobs, but even those that do may have extreme difficulty affording a home in today’s market, according to a study by the Center for Housing Policy.

“In many housing markets, the jobs America’s servicemen and women may find waiting for them after deployment do not pay enough to afford the costs of buying a home, and in some markets and for some occupations, veterans cannot afford the costs of renting a modest rental home,” said report author Laura Williams.

The report, called “Paycheck to Paycheck 2012: Can veterans afford housing in your community?” looks at five of the jobs targeted by veterans’ training programs sponsored by the Department of Labor: carpenters, dental assistants, electricians, firefighters and truck drivers.

Of those jobs, only one — electricians — pays well enough to afford to pay a mortgage on a home at typical nationwide prices. But in the most expensive markets, including San Francisco, Honolulu and New York, even high-earning electricians could not afford the typical rent on a one-bedroom apartment.

Less than half of the 200 metro areas studied offered fair-market rent on a two-bedroom apartment affordable on a dental assistant’s salary, and less than a quarter of the metro areas studied allowed a dental assistant to afford the mortgage on a median-priced home.

“Veterans face a wide range of challenges after returning from deployment,” commented Jeffrey Lubell, executive director of the Center for Housing Policy. “There are many outstanding service organizations across the country that provide assistance to veterans, but their efforts are often undercut by steep housing costs that make it difficult for veterans to make ends meet.”

jhuseman@housingwire.com