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Homeownership continues to remain affordable, even as lofty prices weigh on the market, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo recent Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) report. Affordability, which the Index read as lower in the third quarter, is positive overall—in fact, more than 60 percent of new- and existing-homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income ($65,700).

“Historically-low interest rates and firming job growth are positive indicators that housing markets across the nation will continue to gradually improve,” says NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “Home prices, however, continue to be affected by the rising costs of construction, both in terms of land and labor.”

“Regulatory restraints, along with shortages of buildable lots and skilled workers, are adding to the cost of new homes, which is putting upward pressure on home prices,” says NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Though these factors have negatively affected the marketplace, affordability still remains positive. Moreover, attractive mortgage rates, rising incomes and growing household formations make this an excellent time to buy.”

On a national scale, the median home price, according to the Index, grew to $247,000 in the third quarter, while mortgage rates shrunk to 3.76 percent.

The most affordable major housing market in the third quarter was Elgin, Ill., where 94.3 percent of all new- and existing-homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income ($82,500). The most affordable minor housing market in the third quarter was Fairbanks, Alaska, were 97.7 percent of new- and existing-homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income ($93,800).

The least affordable major housing market, conversely, was San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., where 9.7 percent of new- and existing-homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income ($104,700). The least affordable minor housing market was Salinas, Calif., where 17.6 percent of new- and existing-homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income ($63,500).

The remaining most affordable major housing markets:

  1. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.
  2. Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton, Pa.
  3. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.
  4. Syracuse, N.Y.

The remaining least affordable major housing markets:

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.
  2. Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif.
  3. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  4. Santa Rosa, Calif.

Source: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

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