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Basic allowance for housing rates to increase 4% in 2013

Most active-duty service members will see a 4 percent increase in 2013's basic allowance for housing rates, according to the Department of Defense.

The average increase is 3.88 percent, and it will take effect on Jan. 1.

The new rates will equal an average home allowance increase of $60.55 for members with dependents. At current interest rates, this will yield an increase of $12,800 in purchase price for most eligible service members. The U.S. median home price in October 2012 was $178,600.

There are some areas where rates will decrease, but it will only affect service members who have recently arrived to that location. Service members already at the locale will not see a decrease in their BAH, but will receive the benefit of an increase should the rate go up to offset prior housing contracts or obligations.

"The increase in BAH will allow America's most deserving families who use the VA loan to purchase nicer homes at no additional monthly expense," said Philip Georgiades, chief loan steward for VA Home Loan Centers. "The Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp LeJeune Families Act of 2012, coupled with this housing benefit increase is a step in the right direction for our heroes."

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