PhotoIf you're trying to buy a home, your dollars may go a bit further now.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) finds housing affordability got a slight boost in the first quarter, thanks to rising wages and moderating home prices that offset a rise in mortgage interest rates.

In all, 60.3% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $68,000. In previous three months, it was 59.9%.

"Ongoing job growth continues to fuel demand for housing, while wage growth is helping to offset the effects of rising mortgage rates and keep home prices affordable," said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. "NAHB anticipates that housing will continue on a gradual, upward path throughout the year."

The national median home price fell to $245,000 in the first quarter from $250,000 in the final quarter of 2016. the median is the point at which half the house cost more and half less.

Meanwhile, average mortgage rates were up nearly half a percent -- from 3.84% in the fourth quarter to 4.33% in the first quarter.

Most affordable

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., was rated the nation's most affordable major housing market for the second straight quarter with 92.7% of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter affordable to families earning the area's median income of $54,600.

Kokomo, Ind., was rated the nation's most affordable smaller market, with 96.3% affordability to families earning the median income of $62,500.

Rounding out the top five affordable major housing markets in respective order were Elgin, Ill.; Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton, Pa.; Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Syracuse, N.Y.

Smaller markets joining Kokomo at the top of the list included Glen Falls, N.Y.; East Stroudsburg, Pa.; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Lansing-East Lansing, Mich.

Least affordable

For the 18th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., was the nation's least affordable major housing market. Just 11.8% of homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $108,400.

Other major metros at the bottom of the chart are in California: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale; Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine; San Diego-Carlsbad; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (tied with San Diego).

All five least affordable small housing markets were also in the Golden State. At the very bottom was Salinas, where 13.8% of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $63,100.

Others at the lowest end included Santa Cruz-Watsonville; Napa; San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande; and San Rafael.

 

 


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