If there’s at least one good side to the U.S. housing crisis it may be this: homes are more affordable than ever.
That’s according to the
latest housing affordability index released Thursday by the National
Association of Home Builders and bank Wells Fargo.
The index said 70.1 percent
of all new and existing houses sold in the third quarter of 2009 could be
afforded by families earning 64,000 a year -- the U.S. median household income.
That is down slightly from the 72.3 percent of families who could afford a home
the previous quarter, but still near-record levels for the 18 years the index
has been in existence, the NAHB said.
"At a time when housing
is at its most affordable, we applaud the recent actions taken by Congress and
President Obama to stimulate housing by extending the federal tax credit beyond
its Nov. 30 deadline and expanding it to a wider group of eligible home buyers,"
said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder from Tulsa, Okla. "With
interest rates now lower than last quarter, the tax credit will encourage even
more home buyers to enter the market and help stabilize housing and the economy
by creating new jobs, stimulating home sales, reducing foreclosures, cutting
excess inventories and stabilizing home prices."
The Indianapolis area
remains the most affordable in the country, with markets in and around Detroit;
Youngstown, Ohio; and parts of Pennsylvania close behind.
The least affordable areas
included New York City and White Plains, N.Y.; along with Honolulu; San
Francisco; and Irvine, Calif.
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