Higher home prices offset record-low interest rates and lowered housing affordability in
California in the second quarter of 2012, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSÂ®
(C.A.R.) recently reported.
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ï‚· The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing
single-family home in California fell to 51 percent in the second quarter of 2012, down
from 56 percent in first-quarter 2012, but matched the 51 percent recorded in second
quarter 2011, according to C.A.R.â€™s Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI).
ï‚· C.A.R.â€™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.
ï‚· Home buyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $62,390 to qualify for the
purchase of a $316,230 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the
second quarter of 2012. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-
year fixed-rate loan, would be $1,560, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an
effective composite interest rate of 3.92 percent. The effective composite interest rate in
first-quarter 2012 was 4.16 percent and 4.85 percent in the second quarter of 2011.
ï‚· The San Francisco Bay Area experienced the largest quarterly declines in housing
affordability, resulting from double-digit price increases with little movement in the
interest rate. However, when compared with the previous year, changes to the
affordability index were minimal, thanks to a near-one percent drop in the effective
composite interest rate.
ï‚· At an index of 78 percent, San Bernardino County was the most affordable county of the
state. At the other end, San Mateo County edged out San Francisco County (24 percent)
to be the least affordable, with only 23 percent of households able to purchase the
countyâ€™s median-priced home.
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