NAHB/Wells Fargo’s Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) rose to 73.9 in the 4th quarter of 2010, the highest level in the 20 years it has been measured. The number indicates that 73.9 percent of all new and existing homes sold nationwide in the fourth quarter of 2010 were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400.
Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., was the most affordable major housing market in the country for a second consecutive quarter. In Indianapolis, 93.5 percent of all homes sold were affordable to households earning the area’s median family income of $68,700. Among smaller housing markets, the most affordable was Elkhart-Goshen, Ind., where 97.0 percent of homes sold during the fourth quarter of 2010 were affordable to families earning a median income of $58,600.
New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., again led the nation as the least affordable major housing market during the fourth quarter of 2010. In New York, more than a fourth — 25.5 percent — of all homes sold during the quarter were affordable to those earning the area’s median income of $65,600. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif. was the least affordable of the smaller metro housing markets in the country during the fourth quarter. In Santa Cruz, 45.0 percent of the homes were affordable to families earning the median income of $84,200.
The 73.9 national HOI for the fourth quarter marked the eighth consecutive quarter that the index has been above 70 percent. Until 2009, the HOI rarely topped 65 percent and never reached 70 percent.
It would be good to see the numbers on how many of these affordable homes came with lower (much lower) than average energy bills. I think a truly affordable home is one with extremely low operation costs, as well as mortgage payments.