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Fewer Can Afford to Buy Median-Priced Homes

November 03, 2000|Jennifer Oldham

The percentage of Californians who can afford to buy a median-priced home slipped to 31% in September, down 5 percentage points from the same period a year ago, according to the California Assn. of Realtors. An uptick in mortgage interest rates and in median prices for single-family homes was responsible for the decline, said Leslie Appleton-Young, the association's chief economist. "Demand is so far outstripping supply that we're seeing fairly strong price appreciation that outpaces income growth," she said. The minimum income needed to qualify for a home loan in September 2000 was $69,600, up about $10,000 over the same period a year ago. Los Angeles County saw a drop in affordability in September to 34%, down from 38% a year ago, as did Orange County, where the affordability index fell from 32% to 27%. San Francisco came in as the least-affordable county, with only 12% of its residents being able to afford a median-priced home. The high desert was on the other end of the scale, posting a 67% affordability rate.

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