WASHINGTON, August 19 -- Bolstered by affordable interest rates and low prices, nationwide housing affordability during the second quarter of 2009 continued to hover near its highest level since the series began 18 years ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today.
The HOI showed that 72.3 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the second quarter of 2009 were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,000, down only slightly from the record-high 72.5 percent during the previous quarter and up from 55.0 percent during the second quarter of 2008.
"The increase in affordability -- along with the $8,000 federal tax credit for home buyers -- is stimulating demand, particularly among young, first-time buyers," said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. "But to keep the recent upturn in home sales going into next year, Congress will need to extend the tax credit for another year and make it available to all buyers in an effort to encourage activity in the trade-up market."
Robson noted that the tax credit, which expires on Nov. 30, is currently limited to just buyers purchasing their first home.
Indianapolis, once again, was the most affordable major housing market in the country during the second quarter. Almost 95 percent of all homes sold were affordable to households earning the area's median family income of $68,100. Indianapolis has now topped the affordability list 16 consecutive quarters.
Also near the top of the list of the most affordable major metro housing markets were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Dayton, Ohio; and Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.
Several smaller housing markets posted even higher affordability scores than Indianapolis, with Kokomo, Ind. outscoring all others. There, almost 98 percent of homes sold during the second quarter of 2009 were affordable to median-income earners. Other small housing markets ahead of Indianapolis on the affordability scale included Lansing-East Lansing, Mich.; Mansfield, Ohio; Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.; Lima, Ohio; and Bay City, Mich.
New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., where just over 21 percent of all homes sold during the period were affordable to those earning the median income of $64,800, was once again the nation's least affordable major housing market in the second quarter. This was the New York metro area's fifth consecutive appearance at the bottom of the list. Other major metro areas near the bottom of the affordability chart included San Francisco; Honolulu; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; and Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.
Among smaller metro areas, San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif. was the least affordable market, followed by Ocean City, N.J.; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; and Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif., respectively.
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