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Nationwide housing affordability during the first quarter of 2011 rose to its highest level ever on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), which goes back more than 20 years.
The HOI indicated that 74.6% of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s first quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400.
This eclipsed the previous high of 73.9% set during the fourth quarter of 2010 and marked the ninth consecutive quarter that the index was above 70%. Before 2009, the HOI rarely topped 65% and never reached 70%.
"With interest rates remaining at historically low levels, the first-quarter report indicates that homeownership is within reach of more households than it has been for more than two decades," said NAHB Chairman Bob Nielsen.
"While this is good news for consumers,” he said, “home buyers and builders continue to confront extremely tight credit conditions, and this remains a significant obstacle to many potential home sales."
In Syracuse, N.Y., which was the most affordable major housing market in the country during the first quarter, 94.5% of all homes sold were affordable to households earning the area's median family income of $64,300.
Among the top-five most affordable major metro housing markets, Syracuse was followed by: Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Toledo, Ohio.
Among smaller housing markets, the most affordable was Kokomo, Ind., where 98.6% of the homes sold during the first quarter were affordable to families earning a median income of $61,400.
That was followed by: Monroe, Mich.; Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.; Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.; and Springfield, Ohio.
In New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., which was the nation’s least affordable major housing market during the first quarter, 24.1% of all homes sold were affordable to those earning the area's median income of $65,600.
This was the 12th consecutive quarter in which the New York metropolitan area had the least affordable housing.
Following New York were: San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; Honolulu; and Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif., where 47.6% of the homes sold were affordable to families earning the median income of $72,500, was the least affordable of the smaller metro housing markets in the country during the first quarter.
It was followed by: Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; Laredo, Texas; Ocean City, N.J; and Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif.
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