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Home buying: Most affordable in decades

Topic: Home buying

Buying a home is now more affordable than it has been in the last twenty years.

Thanks to continued declines in home prices and rock-bottom mortgage rates, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index hit a record level of affordability.

According to the index, 75.9% of all new and existing homes sold during the three months ended Dec. 31 could have been comfortably purchased by families earning the national median income of $64,200.

That was the highest percentage recorded in the 20-year history of the index, and a sharp increase from just three months earlier when 72.9% of all homes sold were considered affordable.

Unfortunately, being able to afford a home and actually being able to buy one are two different matters entirely. According to Barry Rutenberg, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Gainesville, Fla., potential home buyers are still finding it difficult to land mortgages.

Mortgages are cheap but you can't get one

"While today's report indicates that home ownership is within reach of more households than it has been for more than two decades, overly restrictive lending conditions confronting home buyers and builders remain significant obstacles to many potential home sales," he said.

Those who do land a mortgage, will be able to take advantage of rates that seem to hit a new low every week. This week interest rates for 30-year loans averaged a record low of 3.87%, according to Freddie Mac.

Where the deals are

Youngstown, Ohio is the most affordable major metro area in the nation to buy a home, according to the NAHB. The faded steel town, located in eastern Ohio, could be on the verge of an economic renaissance with new gas drilling techniques that could help exploit nearby gas reserves, according to the report.

There, 95.1% of homes sold during the quarter were deemed affordable to typical local households earning the area's median family income of $54,900.

The other metro areas near the top of the list included Lakeland, Fla., Modesto, Calif., Harrisburg, Pa., and Toledo, Ohio.

Among small housing markets, Kokomo, Ind. had the highest housing affordability index with more than 99% of all homes sold there affordable to typical families. Fairbanks, Alaska, Cumberland, Md., Lima, Ohio, and Rockford, Ill. were all very affordable as well.

New Yorkers could only shake their heads at the housing opportunities available outside their metro area. Just 29% of the homes sold in the New York metro area during the last three months of 2011 were affordable for the typical local family.

That's the lowest level in the U.S. -- even though locals typically earned $67,400, roughly $3,000 more than the national median. It was New York's 15th consecutive quarter as the least affordable metro area.

Nearly as expensive are housing markets in Honolulu, San Francisco, Santa Ana, Calif., and Los Angeles.

02/20/2012
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Unjust
Appreciate your your realistic crtiqiue. I am and my personal neighbor are getting ready to do some research about this. We ended up a remarkable guide relating to that may make any difference from your local choices and the most magazines specifically where and not as because your features. I'm certainly attractive truly satisfied to check out these facts i always became buying a time consuming precious time.
read more... 03/28/2013

Sabrina
RE: That is a simple qieutson, and as usual, the devil is in the details. If you USG seeks to purchase $1 billion of widgets from my hypothetical business, I might thank them for the order and produce the requested product in China. Sustainability is also an important metric. If I hired a US workforce to make the widgets, perhaps these folks would go out and buy houses. But once the USG order was filled, perhaps they would be laid off, and their homes foreclosed upon.Overall, IMHO, it is best if the stimulus is sustainable and not funded through debt. One solution might be a positive trade balance, that is, demand for US goods and services which is sustainable employing US workers.
read more... 10/03/2012

Jenny
RE: Because it makes no difference how much the gomrnnveet invests, prints, or spends, that's the end result of the liquidity trap you've mentioned a dozen times, twice here.Our gomrnnveet can implement cost cutting, and tax increases to make this the last country standing in the currency wars. There is really nothing to it, and the middle class would hardly feel a thing. People have allowed me to throw around the word wealth, and single out the wealthy. No one challenges me. Why? What is it about that 2% of the global population that we all allow them to run things? There are more of us than there are of them. There was a long discussion on the radio about redistribution of wealth. Every body is against that because there is no accomplishment to getting a hand out. Over centuries it's been proved that the 2% have that feeling of power, because they built wealth, or maintained it. They are the accomplished ones, that we all admire.OK? Are you with me so far? That 2% has nothing to do with the gomrnnveets. That 2% doesn't need any thing. The gomrnnveet is there to keep the rioting to a minimum. That's where all of your theories go sideways. We have never had so much wealth. There is more than enough money to do everything, we just don't have a plan. I pick on Bill, and Melinda Gates, because they are a perfect example of misdirected wealth. Warren Buffet is another bafoon. The wealthy of the world are ridiculous. There is no leadership where it could do some good. There is no military might, so gomrnnveet is a useless set of sabre rattlers. So you should come up with some other idea about where the money is coming from to fix the damage that has been done by the politicians.
read more... 05/01/2012

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