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Californians Continue To Feel The Squeeze

May 10, 2002

Housing Affordability Index Falls Five Points In March

Inman News Features

The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home decreased by five percentage points in March compared with a year ago, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.

The March 2002 housing affordability index stood at 29 percent, down five points from 34 percent in March last year, according to C.A.R. The March index decreased one percentage point from February when it was 30 percent.

"Affordability dipped below 30 percent for the first time in more than a year and a half in March, with only 29 percent of the households in California able to afford a median-priced home," said C.A.R. President Robert Bailey. "At $305,940, the statewide median price set a new record in March."

The index measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase a median-priced home in California.

"Demand for housing continues unabated and is helping to fuel the continued surge in the median price, which registered year-to-year increases in the 20 percent range in each of the last three months," Bailey said. "Historically low mortgage interest rates, which are once again below 7 percent, aren't enough to offset the combination of excessive demand, low inventory of homes for sale, and rising prices throughout most of California."

Los Angeles-based C.A.R. has more than 100,000 members.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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