Housing Affordability Falls Across Southern California


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Housing has gotten less affordable in all Southern California counties, compared to a year ago, a real estate group said today.

Statewide housing affordability reached its lowest level since mid- 2018, as higher prices fueled by a shortage of homes for sale pushed the state's median home price more than 22% higher on a year-over-year basis, according to the California Association of Realtors.

The percentage of home buyers who could afford to purchase a median- priced, existing single-family home in California in the first quarter of 2021 dropped to 27% from 35% in the first quarter of 2020, the organization said.

The first-quarter 2021 figure is less than half of the affordability index peak of 56% in the first quarter of 2012.

Among Southern California counties, Orange County was the least affordable at 20% and a median home price of $1 million.

Los Angeles County was at 25% affordability for the first quarter, with a median home price of $682,360.

C.A.R. estimated that L.A. County residents would need a minimum annual income of $124,400 to afford the $3,110 in monthly home payments, including taxes and insurance.

Orange County residents would need to earn $182,400 per year to afford average monthly home payments of $4,560.

San Bernardino County was the most affordable at 45% and a median home price of $399,000.

Statewide, a minimum annual income of $131,200 was needed to qualify for the purchase of a $720,490 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home in the first quarter of 2021. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, would be $3,280, assuming a 20% down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 3.08%.

Housing affordability for condominiums and townhomes also declined in first-quarter 2021 compared to a year ago, with 40% of California households earning the minimum income to qualify for the purchase of a $535,000 median- priced condominium/townhome, down from 44% a year ago and from 41% in fourth- quarter 2020, C.A.R. said.

An annual income of $97,600 was required to make monthly payments of $2,440.

Compared with California, more than half of the nation's households, 54%, could afford to purchase a $319,200 median-priced home, which required a minimum annual income of $58,000 to make monthly payments of $1,450, according to C.A.R.'s report.

Nationwide affordability fell from 59% a year ago.

C.A.R. has more than 200,000 members, and is headquartered in Los Angeles.


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