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RISMEDIA, August 21, 2008-Indianapolis, Indiana maintained its standing as the most affordable major U.S. housing market for the 12th consecutive time in the second quarter of 2008, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released this week.

Nationwide, homes became more affordable for the third consecutive quarter, with the HOI rising to and almost matching the highest level since the second quarter of 2004.

“Today’s HOI reading shows that 55 percent of all new and existing homes that were sold during the second quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income of $61,500,” said NAHB President Sandy Dunn, a builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. “Several factors combined to increase housing affordability nationwide. There was a marginal rise in mortgage rates, which still remain near the historically low levels of a few years ago, family income nationwide held steady and lower house prices.”

In the nation’s most affordable major housing market of Indianapolis, 91.6% of homes sold in the second quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median household income of $65,100. Also near the top of the list for affordable major metros this time around were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich., in that order.

One smaller metro market (fewer than 500,000 people) outranked all others in terms of housing affordability during the second quarter of 2008. This was Canton-Massillon, Ohio, where 96.7% of all homes sold in the period were affordable to families earning that area’s median household income of $54,600.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. This was the first time a major housing market outside of California was designated the least affordable since the HOI’s inception in 1991. In the New York market, 11.4% of new and existing homes sold during the second quarter were affordable to those earning the area’s median family income of $63,000.

Other major metros at the bottom of the housing affordability chart included San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., Miami-Miami Beach- Kendall, Fla.; and Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y., in that order.

Among metro areas smaller than 500,000 people, the five markets at the bottom of the affordability chart were San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; Ocean City, N.J.; Napa, Calif.; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; and Salinas, Calif., respectively.

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