Home affordability in the US is on an upward trend, as 74.9% of homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 were deemed affordable to families with a US median income of $65,000, up from the 74.1 percentage of the previous quarter. These are the findings of the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). The latest HOI, which measures the percentage of homes sold in a given area affordable to families earning the area’s median income, shows that affordability is improving in 259 out of 361 metropolitan areas.
“The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers, because it shows that homeownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path,” says NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.
“The median price of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $188,000, essentially unchanged from the previous quarter’s $189,000 that marked a nearly three-year high,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Affordability remains historically high thanks to favorable mortgage rates, even as national home price indexes show some rise in values.”
The most affordable major housing market of the US for 2012 was Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, holding this high ranking for the second consecutive year with 93.7% of families affording a home with the area’s median income of $71,500. At the other end of the top, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California is the least affordable market (position previously held by New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J). In San Francisco, only 28.4% of all homes sold in Q4 were affordable to households earning the median income of $103,000.
According to FloridaRealtors, the state of Florida showed different affordability percentages depending on the various areas’ individual index. Lakeland-Winter Haven had a 93% affordability – the highest in the Sunshine State with nine out of 10 residents being able to afford a home, while Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall scored the lowest percentage, with 66%. Rounding up Florida’s top 10 most affordable areas were Ocala – 90.6%, Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach – 88.3%, Gainesville – 86.8%, Punta Gorda – 86.8%, Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach – 85.6%, Tallahassee – 85.6%, Jacksonville – 85.2%, Port St. Lucie – 84.9% and Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Bren – 84.1%.