Home Ownership Is Within More Americans' Reach
Low interest rates helped keep housing affordability high in the final quarter of 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index released on Thursday.
Nearly 75 percent of homes sold between October and the end of December were affordable to families earning the median income of $65,000.
"The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers, because it shows that home ownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path," says NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.
The median price of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $188,000.
"It is noteworthy that affordability remains historically high thanks to favorable mortgage rates even as national home price indexes show some rise in values," says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
The nation’s most affordable major housing market? For the second-consecutive quarter, it's Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, according to the index. Nearly 94 percent of all home sales there were affordable to families earning the median household income of $71,500. Other affordable major housing markets were Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; and Syracuse, N.Y.
Meanwhile, the most expensive major housing market remains San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. Twenty-eight percent of homes sold in San Francisco during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $103,000, according to the index.