NAHB: U.S. homes remain affordable
Home prices may be rebounding in much of the country, but houses remains very affordable in much of the U.S., says the NAHB.
Officials with National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo said an estimated 73.7 percent of new and existing homes sold between January and April this year were within reach of families earning the nation’s median annual income of $64,400.
The statistics were from the Housing Opportunity Index, a quarterly report produced by the NAHB and mortgage lender Wells Fargo.
"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. "The HOI has not slipped below 70 since the end of 2008. That said, from a builder's perspective, it should be noted that rising costs for building materials, lots and labor are making it somewhat more expensive to construct new homes in today's market."
The latest index reflected Judson’s comments. A family earning the median salary could have afforded 74.9 percent of homes in the final quarter of 2012. Otherwise, affordability rates in the cities that make up the index were largely static, added NAHB chief economist David Crowe.
"HOI results for the beginning of 2013 are little changed from what they were at the end of 2012, with Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, holding onto the title of the nation's most affordable major housing market and San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif., retaining its position as the least affordable major market," Crowe said. "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."
The full index is available at www.nahb.org/hoi.