|Housing is becoming more expensive in Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties, according to a study released today by RealtyTrac. The report shows that the monthly payment for a median-priced three-bedroom home purchased in the fourth quarter of 2013 (including mortgage, insurance, taxes, maintenance and subtracting the estimated income tax benefit) rose 31 percent from the year before in Collier County. It increased 15 percent in Charlotte County and 11 percent in Lee. The trend is the result of rising median house prices as well as the 33 percent increase in the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage as reported by Freddie Mac, RealtyTrac reported. In Collier County, the median price of a three-bedroom house rose to $537,583 in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 19 percent from 2012. In Charlotte County, the median price for a similar home rose to $171,400, 15 percent more than the year before. Lee County saw an 11 percent increase in median home prices to $133,200 between fourth quarter 2012 and 2013. Despite the rise in housing prices and mortgage rates, the RealtyTrac analysis concluded that it still pays to be a homeowner rather than a renter in Charlotte and Lee counties. Not so in Collier. To see the full report,visit www.realtytrac.com/Content/foreclosure-market-report/2014-realtytrac-us-housing-affordability-analysis-7985.