Squeezed out: Soaring home prices, mortgage rates hurt middle-class buyers

Note: This story is part of Squeezed Out, a series from Lee Enterprises that focuses on the escalating housing crisis in the West. Across the region, costs associated with renting or buying property have skyrocketed, forcing many individuals and families to redefine the meaning of home. More than one dozen reporters, photographers and editors across the West contributed to this project. 

Home ownership remains Americans’ top financial priority, but many would-be buyers in the West see little chance of achieving that goal.

Even as the historic housing-price runup slows, middle-class buyers are struggling like never before to find a home they can afford in a place where they want to live.

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House-hunters are finding fewer homes for sale as builders ease off on new construction, and when they do put in bids they find themselves competing against out-of-state investors whose all-cash offers are hard for sellers to resist.

Landlords are jumping into the frenzy and selling rental properties, driving apartment availability down and rents up.

This imperfect storm has sparked a housing affordability crisis that is especially severe in western states, where the cost of buying a home has spiked as

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