November 14, 2019
A lower cost of borrowing and higher income levels allowed more Californians to afford a home purchase during the third quarter of 2019, according to research by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.). The trade association reported that 48% of theoretical first-time home buyers in California could “affordably” purchase a median-priced home ($521,450) in Q3 vs. 47% the previous quarter ago and 45% a year ago.
The percentage of overall California home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in Q3 2019 edged up to 31% from 30% in the Q2 2019, and up from 27% in the third quarter a year ago, according to C.A.R.’s Traditional Housing Affordability Index (HAI). California’s housing affordability index hit a peak of 56% in Q3 2012.
A minimum annual income of $120,400 was needed to qualify for the purchase of a $613,470 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in Q3 2019. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, would be $3,010, assuming a 20% down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 3.85%, the lowest rate since Q3 2016.
When compared to a year ago, housing affordability improved in 42 tracked counties and declined in five counties. Affordability remained flat in one county.
Bay Area affordability improved from Q3 2018 in every county. San Francisco County was the least affordable, with just 18% of households able to purchase the $1,580,000 median-priced home.
Affordability also improved in all SoCal regions, with Los Angeles and Orange counties tied for being the least affordable (25%) and San Bernardino County being the most affordable (51%).
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