Fri10312014

Business & Real Estate

California housing affordability level drops

Lower inventory, high demand and rising interest rates have significantly reduced housing affordability in California. The California Association of Realtors recently reported that housing affordability in the third quarter of 2013 fell for the sixth consecutive quarter, after reaching an all-time high in the spring of 2012.

California housing affordability hit a record high of 56 percent in the first quarter of 2012. The third-quarter 2013 figure fell below 35 percent for the first time since the third quarter of 2008.

The percentage of homebuyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home in California dropped to 32 percent in the third quarter of 2013, down from 36 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and from 49 percent in the third quarter of 2012, according to the association’s affordability index, which measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase a median-priced single-family home.

“With Silicon Valley’s economic recovery, there is no doubt that it has become more difficult for homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, to purchase a home in the region,” said Carolyn Miller, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors. “Many businesses are expanding their labor force, and unless more inventory and new home construction ease the shortage of housing, home prices are expected to continue rising next year.”

Homebuyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $89,170 to qualify for the purchase of a $433,940 statewide median-priced existing single-family home in the third quarter of 2013. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $2,230, assuming a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.36 percent.

The composite interest rate was 3.72 percent in the third quarter of 2012. The median home price was $339,930 in the third quarter of 2012, and an annual income of $65,828 was needed to purchase a home at that price.

The California Association of Realtors reported that nearly every county experienced a double-digit decline in affordability when compared to last year.

In Santa Clara County, only 21 percent of homebuyers could afford to purchase a median-priced single-family home in the third quarter of 2013, down from 32 percent in the third quarter of 2012. Buyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $165,420 to qualify for the purchase of an $805,000 median-priced single-family home. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year fixed-rate loan, would be $4,140.

The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors provided information for this article. For more information, email Rose Meily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit silvar.org.

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