C.A.R. reports first quarter 2012 housing affordability

Housing affordability in California set a new record high in first quarter 2012 rising to 56 percent, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reported today. The increase can be attributed to record-low interest rates and stabilization in home prices.

The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California rose to 56 percent in the first quarter of 2012, up from 55 percent in fourth-quarter 2011 and from 53 percent in first quarter 2011, 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.

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 $55,688* to qualify for the purchase of a $276,040 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the first quarter of 2012. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $1,392, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.16 percent. The effective composite interest rate in fourth-quarter 2011 was 4.30 percent and 4.90 percent in the first quarter of 2011.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, housing affordability rose or remained stable in all counties except Contra Costa County, where affordability declined by one percentage point. At 78 percent, San Bernardino County was the most affordable, while San Francisco County was the least affordable, with only 29 percent of households able to purchase the county’s median-priced home.

*Income is based on information from the fourth quarter 2011.

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 155,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Traditional Housing Affordability Index

STATE/REGION/COUNTY Q1 2012 Q4 2011   Q1 2011
California Single-family home 56 55   53
California Condo/townhome 64 63   60
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area 56 56   53
Inland Empire 71 71   68
San Francisco Bay Area 45 42   39
United States 71 70   69
         
San Francisco Bay Area        
Alameda 45 39   35
Contra-Costa (Central County) 36 37   30
Marin 32 29   27
Napa 50 50   48
San Francisco 29 26   25
San Mateo 33 29   30
Santa Clara 42 40   38
Solano 77 76   74
Sonoma 51 51   47
Southern California        
Los Angeles 51 48   46
Orange County 39 38   33
Riverside County 66 66   63
San Bernardino 78 78   76
San Diego 46 46 r 40
Ventura 50 49   44
Central Coast        
Monterey 54 56   58
San Luis Obispo 41 41   40
Santa Barbara 46 41   37
Santa Cruz 35 37   34
Central Valley        
Fresno 72 71 r 70
Kings County 74 75   71
Madera 77 75   68
Merced 77 77   76
Placer County 67 67   64
Sacramento 74 74   71
Tulare 75 73   72

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Traditional Housing Affordability Index

State/Region/County Index Median Home Price Monthly Payment Including Taxes and Insurance Minimum Qualifying Annual Income
California Single-family (SAAR) 56 $276,040 $1,392 $55,688
California condo/townhome 64 $223,870 $1,129 $45,163
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area 56 $266,580 $1,344 $53,780
Inland Empire 71 $174,330 $879 $35,169
San Francisco Bay Area 45 $447,970 $2,259 $90,373
United States 71 $158,100 $797 $31,895
         
S.F. Bay Area        
Alameda 45 $408,680 $2,061 $82,447
Contra-Costa (Central County) 36 $537,440 $2,711 $108,423
Marin 32 $694,060 $3,500 $140,019
Napa 50 $348,720 $1,759 $70,351
San Francisco 29 $607,230 $3,063 $122,502
San Mateo 33 $620,000 $3,127 $125,078
Santa Clara 42 $535,500 $2,701 $108,031
Solano 77 $186,910 $943 $37,707
Sonoma 51 $323,370 $1,631 $65,236
Southern California        
Los Angeles 51 $281,390 $1,419 $56,767
Orange County 39 $484,860 $2,445 $97,815
Riverside County 66 $203,630 $1,027 $41,080
San Bernardino 78 $131,400 $663 $26,509
San Diego 46 $359,520 $1,813 $72,529
Ventura 50 $398,620 $2,010 $80,417
Central Coast        
Monterey 54 $289,000 $1,458 $58,303
San Luis Obispo 41 $368,750 $1,860 $74,391
Santa Barbara 46 $347,210 $1,751 $70,046
Santa Cruz 35 $475,000 $2,396 $95,826
Central Valley        
Fresno 72 $134,230 $677 $27,079
Kings County 74 $143,910 $726 $29,032
Madera 77 $111,820 $564 $22,558
Merced 77 $115,430 $582 $23,287
Placer County 67 $259,800 $1,310 $52,412
Sacramento 74 $164,930 $832 $33,273
Tulare 75 $119,330 $602 $24,074
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