Housing Remains Affordable

Housing Remains Affordable

Posted 05/21/2013

iStock_000004457844Medium_272x407Despite rising housing prices, homeownership remains within reach for nearly three quarters of the U.S. population, according to information released last week by the National Association of Home Builders.

The first National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) report of the year indicates 73.7 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400. The number is down slightly from the 74.9 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners at the end of 2012.

NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C., said favorable mortgage rates and prices over the last four years contributed heavily to the affordability factor for buyers. Even though builders have endured rising labor, land and material costs, affordability has held steady since the end of 2008, he said.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe summed up the situation this way, saying:

“The bottom line is that for consumers who can qualify for a mortgage at today’s attractive rates, the majority of homes being sold remain within their grasp in markets nationwide.”

Ogden-Clearfield, Utah topped the list as the nation’s most affordable major housing market, while San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif., retained its position as the least affordable major market. This was the third consecutive quarter in which Ogden-Clearfield occupied the No. 1 slot. Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa; and a tie between Syracuse, N.Y. and Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y., rounded out the top five most affordable housing markets for the first quarter.