Group says more Californians can afford to buy their first home
By ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer
(02-19) 12:13 PST Los Angeles (AP) --
Frustrated California renters take heed: A trade group says it's getting easier for people to afford their first home.
With home prices in a downward spiral in many once-booming areas, the percentage of California households that can afford to finance an entry-level home increased in the last three months of 2007 compared to the same period a year earlier, the California Association of Realtors said Tuesday.
The trade group for real estate agents calculates affordability based on the minimum household income required to make a 10 percent downpayment and secure an adjustable interest rate loan at 6.21 percent.
Some 33 percent of the households in the state met those guidelines in the fourth quarter — up from 25 percent in the same three months of 2006, the association said.
Buyers needed to earn $82,200 to afford financing of $411,170, the typical statewide price for an entry-level home during the quarter, the trade association estimated.
The monthly payment for such a purchase, including taxes and insurance, was $2,740, the association said.
An entry-level home was defined as one priced at about 85 percent of the median home price in an area.
The most affordable area of the state during the quarter was the desert north of Los Angeles, where some 54 percent of households met the association's $43,800 annual income threshold to finance an entry-level home priced at $218,880.
Sacramento County was next, with 53 percent of households within the income range needed to afford a home priced at $252,920.
The least affordable area was the Central Coast region of Monterey, where only 20 percent of households earned the $118,200 needed to finance an entry-level home at $591,200.
In Los Angeles County, 27 percent of households earned the $86,700 a year needed to buy a home priced at $433,200.
Some 46 percent of households in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which have been hit particularly hard by rising foreclosures and falling home values, earned $57,600 a year, enough to finance a $287,330 home, the association said.
In the San Francisco Bay area, meanwhile, only 23 percent of households reported income of at least $132,300, the minimum to purchase a home priced at $660,660.
California Association of Realtors: www.car.org