Combined housing market factors made last year a great time for those considering making the investment of purchasing a home ideal. In a new report, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo revealed that low interest rates and stable home prices seen in the final quarter of 2012, allowed it to be one of the most affordable years for home buying in history.
Data from the Housing Opportunity Index revealed that 74.1 percent of properties sold between October through December were deemed affordable to those making the national median income of $65,000. This was an increase from the third quarter, when 74.1 percent of transactions were considered affordable.
According to real estate records, the median price of all new and existing homes that were sold in the final three months of 2012 was $188,000. This was down from the previous quarter when the median reached the highest level seen in three years at $189,000. While prices have been on the rise, average mortgage rates have danced around record lows set in the later months of last year.
"The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers, because it shows that homeownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path," said Rick Judson, chairman of NAHB.
Of the 361 housing markets included in the IMI, 259 posted improvements, including representation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Utah, Ogden-Clearfield remained the most affordable housing market, with 93.7 percent of both new and existing homes sold in the three-month span considered affordable with the $71,500 median income. Other metros that were highlighted for their affordable opportunities included Dayton, Ohio; Syracuse, New York and Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida.
With widespread representation, many economists have predicted that more cities will be added to the list of improving house markets in coming months.
However, some markets have continued to struggle in posting affordability, with mortgage rates and rental prices both up in places like San Francisco, New York and White Plains, New Jersey. According to NAHB data, only 28.4 percent of properties sold in San Francisco were deemed affordable when considering the area's $103,000 median income.