Which housing market was the least affordable in the fourth quarter?

by Steve Randall14 Feb 2020

California remained the home of the least affordable housing market in the US in the fourth quarter of 2019.

But after two years of holding the undesirable position, San Francisco took a breather as Los Angeles stepped up as the market where the smallest share of median income earners could afford the median priced home.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released Thursday shows that nationally, 63.2% of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the US median income of $75,500.

That meant little change from the third quarter when 63.6% of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners.

But for those in the Los-Angeles-Long-Beach-Glendale, Calif. market, just 11.3% of the homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $73,100.

“Growing household formations, ongoing job creation and rising wage growth are fueling housing demand,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “But a record-low resale inventory, coupled with underbuilding as builders deal with supply-side constraints, continue to put upward pressure on home prices even as interest rates remain at low levels.”

Other California markets among the least affordable include San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine; San Diego-Carlsbad; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara.

Affordable markets

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind. was the most affordable major housing market (500K+ population) in the fourth quarter with 91.5% of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $79,900.

Scranton-Wilkes Barre-Hazleton, Pa.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; and Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. complete the top 5.

More market update: