WASHINGTON, August 19 -- Bolstered by favorable interest rates and low house prices, housing affordability remained near its highest level nationwide for the sixth consecutive month since the series was first compiled nearly two decades ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released Aug. 19.
The HOI indicated that 72.3 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the second quarter of 2010 were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400. The index for the second quarter was slightly more affordable than the previous quarter and almost equaled the record-high 72.5 percent set during the first quarter of 2009.
Until 2009, the HOI rarely topped 67 percent and never reached 70 percent.
"Homeownership is within reach of more households than it has been for almost a generation," said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "Interest rates continue to hover at historic low levels, the economy is beginning to rebound and with house prices starting to stabilize, conditions are beginning to draw home buyers back into the market, which is a positive step on the path to recovery."
Syracuse, N.Y., was the most affordable major housing market in the country, edging out Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., which had held the top ranking for nearly five years. In Syracuse, 97.2 percent of all homes sold were affordable to households earning the area's median family income of $64,300.
Also near the top of the list of the most affordable major metro housing markets were Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; and Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Among smaller housing markets, the most affordable was Springfield, Ohio, where 96.6 percent of homes sold during the second quarter of 2010 were affordable to families earning a median-income of $56,800. Other smaller housing markets near the top of the index included Mansfield, Ohio; Bay City, Mich.; Monroe, Mich.; and Lansing-East Lansing, Mich., respectively.
New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., continued to lead the nation as its least affordable major housing market during the second quarter of 2010. There, 19.9 percent of all homes sold during the quarter were affordable to those earning the New York area's median income of $65,600. This was the ninth consecutive quarter that the New York metropolitan division has occupied this position.
The other major metro areas near the bottom of the affordability scale included San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; and Honolulu, all metro areas that have lingered among the bottom rankings for several quarters.
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif., was the least affordable of the smaller metro housing markets in the country during the second quarter. Others near the bottom included Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; Ocean City, N.J; Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif.; and Napa, Calif.
Please visit nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.