“Make no mistake — we still have major work to address the housing affordability crunch in America,” Wilson noted. “Out of the 160 metro areas in our survey, housing affordability fell in 73 locations between the third and fourth quarters of 2004. The fact remains that buying a home is becoming increasingly difficult for America’s working families.”
Buffalo-Niagara, N.Y., was the nation’s most affordable major market and the sixth most affordable market overall — behind the less-populated metros of Lima, Ohio; Cumberland, Md.; Mansfield, Ohio; Saginaw-Bay City-Midland, Mich.; and Canton-Massillon, Ohio, respectively. In Buffalo, nearly 90% of the homes sold in last year’s final quarter were affordable to families earning the area median income of $53,600. The median price of homes sold in the market during that period was $79,000.
With nine of its markets appearing on the “25 Most Affordable Metro Areas” list, Ohio wins the title of the most affordable state in which to buy a home. Illinois and Michigan tied as the second-most affordable states, with four metros in each appearing on the top-25 list.
On the flip side of the coin, Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif., tied with Salinas, Calif., for the top spot on the “25 Least Affordable Metro Areas” list. With 19 entries on that list, California was once again the nation’s least affordable state housing market overall. No other state had more than two locations in the least-affordable column.
“Nowhere are the effects of excessive regulation more apparent than in California’s housing market,” said Wilson. “In Los Angeles-Long Beach, where the median home price was $415,000 in the fourth quarter, a miniscule 5.2% of homes sold were affordable to median-income families earning $53,500 per year. That’s a tough situation that needs to be addressed with reformed land-use policies that allow more affordable housing to be built.”
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