Until recently, Christina Brouk was living with her parents. Now, still in her early 20s, she's living the American dream of home ownership — the same dream that's grown elusive for many young adults since the housing bubble peaked 10 years ago.
Homes in many areas of the United States have become so costly that few but high earners can afford them. Rising rents have made it hard to save enough to buy. Cities that offer plentiful jobs for educated young adults — New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington — have become prohibitively expensive home markets.
Then there are the exceptions.
St. Louis, near where Brouk lives, is one. So are...