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NAHB: So Far, So Good for Housing Affordability in 2013

Housing affordability stayed near historic highs across the nation in the first quarter of 2013, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released Tuesday.

Nearly three-quarters (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, down slightly from the 74.9% of homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 that were affordable to median-income earners. 

“Thanks to very favorable mortgage rates and prices, housing affordability has remained quite high over the past four years,” said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson, a home builder from Charlotte, N.C., in a statement.

Ogden-Clearfield, Utah remains the nation’s most affordable major housing market, according to NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, while San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. has retained its position as the least affordable major market.

The first quarter of 2013 is the third consecutive quarter in which Ogden-Clearfield hit the top of the affordability chart for major markets, as 93.4% of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to median-income earning families in the area. 

Other major U.S. housing markets topping the affordability chart in the first quarter are Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; and Syracuse and Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. 

“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,” Crowe said.

Not every market is affordable. The San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. metro area was the nation’s least affordable major market for the second quarter in a row, with just 28.9% of homes sold in the first quarter qualifying as affordable to families earnings the area’s median income of $102,000. 

Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart include 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. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace