National housing news still positive heading into 2015

National housing news still positive heading into 2015

Posted 11/20/2014

Arizona Realtors According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), firming home prices in markets across the country contributed to a fall of less than 1 percent in nationwide housing affordability in the third quarter of 2014.

In all, 61.8 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and the end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $63,900. The HOI in the second quarter was 62.6 percent.

The national median home price increased from $214,000 in the second quarter to $221,000 in the third. However, average mortgage interest rates decreased from 4.44 percent to 4.35 percent in the same period.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe remains upbeat, saying, “Even with nationwide home prices reaching their highest level since the end of 2007, affordability still remains fairly high by historical standards. Rising employment and incomes, interest rates that remain near historically low levels, and pent-up demand should contribute to positive momentum heading into next year.”

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. was the nation’s most affordable housing market, as 89.1 percent of all new and homes sold in this year’s third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $52,700. Other major U.S. housing markets at the top of the affordability chart in the third quarter included Syracuse, N.Y.; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa; and Dayton, Ohio.

Meanwhile, Cumberland, MD.-W.Va. and Kokomo, Ind. each tied as the most affordable smaller market, with 94.8 percent of homes sold in the third quarter being affordable to those earning the median income of $54,100 in Cumberland and $56,900 in Kokomo. Smaller markets joining the top of the affordability chart included Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Iowa-Ill.; Mansfield, Ohio; and Springfield, Ohio.

For an eighth consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif., was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. Only 11.4 percent of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $100,400.

All five least affordable small housing markets were in California with Napa at the very bottom. There, just 10.2 percent of all new and existing homes were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $70,300.