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Housing Affordability Index Doesn’t Budge

The percentage of households in San Diego able to afford a median-priced home in January remained at 11 percent, placing San Diego among the least affordable counties in the state, according to the California Association of Realtors. The index showed no improvement from December when it also registered 11 percent and a significant decline since January 2004 when it registered 16 percent.

The affordability calculation was based on the median price of an existing home in San Diego of $580,220 in January, up 0.6 percent from December when the median price was $577,040.

The association’s monthly housing affordability index measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase a median-priced home across the state.

In California the percentage of households able to afford a median-priced home at $485,700 stood at 18 percent. The minimum household income needed to afford such a purchase in the state in January was $113,340 based on an average effective mortgage interest rate of 5.78 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment.

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In California the most affordable region was the High Desert region, where the affordability index resided at 39 percent, followed by Sacramento at 24 percent. The Santa Barbara region was the least affordable in the state at 7 percent, followed by the Monterey and Palm Springs/Lower Desert regions at 10 percent.

In the United States the affordability index was more favorable. In January, 55 percent of the country’s households could afford to purchase a median priced home at $189,000.

Other measures of housing affordability in San Diego, including the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index for the fourth quarter of 2004, showed the proportion of San Diego families able to afford a median- priced home to be as low as 5.3 percent.

Heather Bergman

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