'I Can’t Afford LA'

February 14, 2020
Hillside view of Los Angeles
Photo: Joel Mott on Unsplash

It’s not a Randy Newman song, but being the least affordable housing market in the nation is a distinction that Los Angeles has taken from San Francisco, according to fourth quarter figures from the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

Just 11.3 percent of the homes sold there during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $73,100. 

Nationally, 63.2 percent of new and existing homes sold there between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $75,500. This is virtually unchanged from the 63.6 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.

Mortgage rates and home prices remained relatively stable over the past two quarters, which is why affordability held steady. The national median home price was $279,000 in the fourth quarter, essentially unchanged from $280,000 in the third quarter of 2019. Likewise, average 30-year mortgage rates stood at 3.78 percent in the fourth quarter compared to 3.73 percent in the third quarter.

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market, defined as a metro with a population of at least 500,000. There, 91.5 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $79,900.

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