Housing Affordability Hovers Near Record-High Level
Nov 23, 2009
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U.S. housing affordability hovered for the third consecutive quarter near its highest level since the series was first compiled 18 years ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

The HOI showed that 70.1% of all new and existing homes sold in the third quarter of 2009 were affordable to families earning the national median income of US$64,000, down slightly from a near-record 72.3% during the previous quarter and up from 56.1% during 3Q 2008.

Indianapolis was the most affordable major housing market in the country during the third quarter, a position the metro area now has held for 17 consecutive quarters. Almost 95% of all homes sold were affordable to households earning the area's median family income of $68,100.

Also near the top of the list of the most affordable major metro housing markets were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA., and three Michigan metropolitan areas, Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn; Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills; and Grand Rapids-Wyoming.

Five smaller housing markets posted even higher affordability scores than Indianapolis, with Kokomo, IN outscoring all others. There, 96.7% of homes sold during the third quarter of 2009 were affordable to median-income earners. Other smaller housing markets near the top of the index included Springfield, OH; Bay City, MI.; Mansfield, OH; and Elkhart-Goshen, IN.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., was the nation's least affordable major housing market during 3Q 2009, the New York metro area's sixth consecutive appearance at the bottom of the list. Slightly more than 19% of all homes sold during the third quarter were affordable to those earning the New York area's median income of $64,800.

The other major metro areas near the bottom of the affordability scale included San Francisco; Honolulu; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA; and Nassau-Suffolk, NY.

San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif. was the least affordable of the smaller metro housing markets in the country during the third quarter. Others near the bottom of the chart included Ocean City, NJ; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA; Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA; and Brownsville-Harlingen, TX.

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