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Reprinted without any permission or warning from this article, BY JEFF HARRINGTONTIMES STAFF WRITER.

Tampa ranks among the top 10 markets with the highest share of renters who can afford to purchase a home, according to a new analysis by the National Association of Realtors.

The association estimates that 38 percent of those renting in Tampa make enough to buy a house here, which ties this area with Columbus, Ohio, as the eighth-most-affordable market in the country.

Since the Great Recession, there’s been an explosion in renter households, driving the U.S. homeownership rate down to less than 63 percent, the lowest level in more than 50 years.

For growing metros like Tampa, the challenge for renters to make the leap to buying a home can seem even more daunting as a runup in rents and stagnant wage growth has made it tougher to save.

Yet, Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Realtors group, said this study is encouraging, showing “there are several affordable middle-tier markets with solid job gains and a large segment of renters who earn enough to buy.”

All of the top 10 metros highlighted were outside of the West Coast. And each scored better than the national average of renters who would qualify to buy a home in their market (28 percent).

Yun said the report reinforces another recent survey by the association that shows those living in the Midwest and South were the most likely to say that “now is a good time to purchase a home.”

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Author Contact: JEFF HARRINGTON, harrington@tampabay.com