(Source: CAR) – California’s housing affordability rose to its highest level in fourth-quarter 2011, matching a record high set in 2009, thanks to lower home prices and record-low interest rates, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today.The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California rose to 55 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 52 percent in third-quarter 2011 and from 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to C.A.R.’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI). The index was the highest since C.A.R. began tracking this statistic in 1988, and equaled a high set in first-quarter 2009.
C.A.R.’s HAI measures the percentage of all households that can afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in California. C.A.R. also reports affordability indices for regions and select counties within the state. The Index is considered the most fundamental measure of housing well-being for home buyers in the state.
Home buyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $57,750 to qualify for the purchase of a $282,350 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the fourth quarter of 2011. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $1,440, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.31 percent. The effective composite interest rate in third-quarter 2011 was 4.63 percent and 4.62 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, housing affordability rose in most counties except San Francisco and San Mateo counties, where it was unchanged, primarily due to home price increases in those counties. At 78 percent, San Bernardino County was the most affordable, while San Francisco County was the least affordable, with only 26 percent of households able to purchase the county’s median-priced home.
Visit http://www.car.org/marketdata/data/haitraditional/to see C.A.R.’s historical housing affordability data. For first-time buyer housing affordability data, visit http://www.car.org/marketdata/data/ftbhai/.
Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (www.car.org) is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 160,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.