U.S. houses less affordable in third quarter

Real Estate Watch

January 27, 2002

Housing affordability fell slightly nationwide in the third quarter to 61.5 percent, down from 63.4 percent in the second quarter of 2001, according to the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Opportunity Index.

The index measures the percentage of homes sold that a family earning the median income can afford to buy. Families earning the median U.S. income of $52,500 could afford to buy 61.5 percent of homes sold nationwide in the third quarter.

Rockford, Ill., was the nation's most affordable housing market, as families earning the median income of $57,000 could afford 89.4 percent of homes sold, according to the index.

The Baltimore metropolitan area ranked No. 82 nationwide in terms of affordability. A family earning the median income of $63,100 could afford 71.3 percent of Baltimore-area homes sold.

The most affordable regions were: Syracuse, N.Y., in the Northeast; Rockford in the Midwest; Wilmington-Newark, Del., in the South; and Anchorage, Alaska, in the West. Least affordable regions were: Portsmouth-Rochester, N.H.-Maine in the Northeast; Ann Arbor, Mich., in the Midwest; Charleston-North Charleston, S.C., in the South; and Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif., in the West, replacing San Francisco.

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