Nationwide housing affordability rose to a record high during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released Feb. 16. Nearly 76% of all new and existing homes sold during those months were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,200, which is the highest percentage recorded in the 20-year history of our index.
In Greenville, 84.7 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to the median household income of $58,300. Greenville is presently the 17th most affordable housing market in the country. The current affordability index for Greenville is just short of the record affordability set in 2004, when housing prices were impacted by the manufacturing recession of 2002 and 2003.
The most affordable large metro in the country at the end of last year was Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., where 95.1% of all homes sold during the quarter were within reach of households earning the area’s median family income of $54,900. Also ranking at the top of the affordability list this time around were Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; Modesto, Calif.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; and Toledo, Ohio, in that order.
Among smaller housing markets, Kokomo, Ind., reigned supreme, with 99.2% of homes sold during the fourth quarter being affordable to families earning the median income of $59,100. Other smaller housing markets at the top of the affordability scale include Fairbanks, Alaska; Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.; Lima, Ohio; and Rockford, Ill.
By contrast, New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. retained its title as the least affordable major housing market during 2011’s final quarter, with just 29% of all homes sold being affordable to those earning the area’s median income of $67,400. This was the 15th consecutive quarter in which that metro has sunk to the bottom of the affordability chart. Other major metros near the bottom include Honolulu; San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., respectively.
The least affordable small metro area this time around was Ocean City, N.J., where 47.5% of the homes were affordable to families earning the median income of $70,100. Other small metros near the bottom included Laredo, Texas; San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; and Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas.