Housing affordability remained near its highest level nationwide for the seventh consecutive quarter as interest rates dipped below 5 percent for the first time since the series was first compiled nearly two decades ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).
The HOI indicated that 72.1 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the third quarter of 2010 were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400. The index for the third quarter almost equaled the record-high 72.5 percent set during the first quarter of 2009 and marked the seventh consecutive quarter that the index rose above 70 percent. Until 2009, the HOI rarely topped 65 percent and never reached 70 percent.
Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., was the most affordable major housing market in the country, regaining the top ranking it held for nearly five years after being edged out by Syracuse, N.Y., last quarter. In Indianapolis, 93.3 percent of all homes sold were affordable to households earning the area’s median family income of $68,700.
New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., continued to lead the nation as the least affordable major housing market during the third quarter of 2010. In New York, 22.6 percent of all homes sold during the quarter were affordable to those earning the area’s median income of $65,600. This was the 10th consecutive quarter that the New York metropolitan division has occupied this position.