Low interest rates helped keep housing affordability high in the final quarter of 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index released on Thursday.
Nearly 75 percent of homes sold between October and the end of December were affordable to families earning the median income of $65,000.
"The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers, because it shows that home ownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path," says NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.
The median price of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $188,000.
"It is noteworthy that affordability remains historically high thanks to favorable mortgage rates even as national home price indexes show some rise in values," says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
The nationâ€™s most affordable major housing market? For the second-consecutive quarter, it's Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, according to the index. Nearly 94 percent of all home sales there were affordable to families earning the median household income of $71,500. Other affordable major housing markets were Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; and Syracuse, N.Y.
Meanwhile, the most expensive major housing market remains San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. Twenty-eight percent of homes sold in San Francisco during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the areaâ€™s median income of $103,000, according to the index.