Modest home price and interest rate decreases resulted in a slight increase in nationwide housing affordability in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).
In all, 63.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This up from the 62.2 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.
The national median home price fell from $231,000 in the third quarter to $226,000 in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates edged lower from 4.18 percent to 4.09 percent in the same period.
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market, switching places with Syracuse, N.Y., which fell to the second slot on the list. In Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, 90.1 percent of all new and existing homes sold in last year’s fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $53,700.
Meanwhile, Binghamton, N.Y. claimed the title of most affordable small housing market in the fourth quarter of 2015. There, 94.6 percent of homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $66,400.
For the 13th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 10.4 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $103,400.
All five least affordable small housing markets were also in California. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif., where 16.3 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $87,000.
Visit nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.