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Housing Affordability Held Strong in First Quarter

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Housing Affordability Held Strong in First Quarter

Today's photos are those of Archival Designs' Favorite Castle Plan - Chateau Novella

Nationwide housing affordability held near historic highs in this year’s first quarter, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released May 14. In all, 73.7% 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. This is down just slightly from the 74.9% of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the final quarter of 2012.

Commenting on the latest data, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe noted that "HOI results for the beginning of 2013 are little changed from what they were at the end of 2012, with Ogden-Clearfield, Utah holding onto the title of the nation’s most affordable major housing market and San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. retaining its position as the least affordable major market. 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.” 

This was the third consecutive quarter in which Ogden-Clearfield hit the top of the affordability chart for major markets. There, 93.4% of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $70,800 – essentially unchanged from the 93.7% of homes affordable to median-income earners at year-end 2012.

Other major U.S. housing markets at the top of the affordability chart in the first quarter included Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; and the two New York metros of Syracuse and Albany-Schenectady-Troy, which tied for fifth on the list. On the flip side of the coin, this was the second consecutive quarter in which the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. metro area hit the bottom of the affordability chart for major markets. T

here, just shy of 29% of homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $102,000. Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart included New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., and the three California metros of Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, in that order.

Get Ready to Celebrate National Homeownership Month in June

June is National Homeownership Month, and NAHB is offering an online toolkit to help HBAs and members take advantage of this important time of year. The kit has customizable resources for highlighting the benefits of homeownership, including print and web ads, a brief video, sample social media posts, talking points and radio spot scripts as well as articles of interest to current and potential home owners. To download these great materials, visit www.nahb.org/homeownershipmonth. You can start with the Guide to Celebrating National Homeownership Month, which provides ideas for events to engage the media, city and county officials, local home buyers and other members of the community in celebrating homeownership.

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  • Joanne Loftus
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