Region Ranks Second-Best in House Affordability

OUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- The Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Mercer County, Pa. metropolitan statistical area remained near the  the top of the U.S. housing affordability chart in the first quarter. In all, families who earned the regional median income of $63,900 could afford 65.5% of new and existing houses sold here between Jan. 1 and end of March 31.

This is slightly higher from the 64.7% sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.

Slightly lower median house prices, along with steady mortgage rates, contributed to the higher affordability in the first quarter, says the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

Meanwhile, the national median pric of a house dipped to $195,000 in the first quarter from $205,000 in the fourth quarter while average mortgage interest rates were virtually unchanged, moving to 4.57% from 4.54% in the same period. “Housing affordability remains strong and this is an encouraging sign as the spring home building season moves into high gear,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the home builders association and a house builder and developer from Wilmington, Del.

Syracuse, N.Y. was the most affordable major housing market in the nation while Cumberland, Md.-W.Va. was the most affordable smaller market.

Other major U.S. housing markets at the top of the affordability chart were Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Mercer County, Pa.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; and Dayton, Ohio; in descending order.

For a sixth consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. held the lowest spot among major markets on the affordability chart. There, just 13.3% of houses sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning that area’s median income of $100,400.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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