NAHB: Rising Home Prices Push Affordability Slightly Lower In Second Quarter

Rising house prices in metros across the country contributed to slightly lower housing affordability in the second quarter of 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012.


The latest HOI data reveal that 73.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the second quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $65,000. This is down from a record high 77.5 percent of homes that were affordable to median-income earners as of the first quarter, and is largely attributable to rising prices in metros across the country. A full 92 percent of metros covered in the latest HOI saw their median home prices rise between the first and second quarter.

“While interest rates and overall housing affordability remain very favorable on a historic basis, the decline in the latest HOI is a positive development because it is another signal that the housing recovery is starting to take root, and it lends needed confidence to prospective buyers and sellers who have been reluctant to move forward in the current marketplace,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla.

The most affordable major housing market in this year’s second quarter was Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., a Rust Belt metro where 93.4 percent of homes sold during the period were affordable to households earning the area’s median family income of $55,700.

Also ranking among the most affordable major housing markets in respective order were Dayton, Ohio; Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; and Modesto, Calif. The latter metro has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, contributing to lower prices.

Among smaller housing markets, Fairbanks, Alaska topped the affordability chart with 98.7 percent of homes sold during the second quarter being affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $92,900. Other smaller housing markets at the top of the index include Mansfield and Springfield, Ohio; Carson City, Nev.; and Kokomo, Ind.

Meanwhile, New York- White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. retained the title of the least affordable major housing market in the country for a 17th consecutive quarter, with just 29.4 percent of homes sold there being affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $68,300 as of the second quarter.

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart included San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; in that order.

Ocean City, N.J., retained its title as the least affordable smaller housing market in the second quarter, with just 43.8 percent of homes sold in the second quarter affordable to families earning the median income of $71,100. Other small metros at the bottom of the list included San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; Dover, Del.; and Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif., respectively.

Please visit www.nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.

Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index is a measure of the percentage of homes sold in a given area that are affordable to families earning that area’s median income during a specific quarter. Prices of new and existing homes sold are collected from actual court records by First American Real Estate Solutions, a marketing company. Mortgage financing conditions incorporate interest rates on fixed- and adjustable-rate loans reported by the Federal Housing Finance Board.Reply to Schoon, Steven

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