The metropolitan area encompassing Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind., has retained the title of most affordable major U.S. housing market for an eighth consecutive time, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) for the second quarter of 2007. About 87 percent of new and existing homes in this area that were sold during the second quarter of this year were affordable to families earning the area’s median household income of $63,800.

Also near the top of the list for affordable major metros in the second quarter were Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich., respectively.

“The latest HOI indicates that 43.1 percent of new and existing homes that were sold in the United States during this year’s second quarter were affordable to families earning the national median income,” said NAHB President Brian Catalde. “This reflects a marginal decline from the 43.9 percent of homes sold that were affordable to such buyers in the first quarter. However, it’s up substantially from the 40.6 percent of homes that were affordable to median income-earners when higher home prices and mortgage rates were in effect during the second quarter of 2006.”

“The data shows that housing affordability generally remains a serious issue, even though national average house prices are down from their 2005 highs,” added NAHB Chief Economist David Seiders. “Moreover, the abrupt tightening of lending standards in the subprime sector - a trend that is now bleeding into other sectors of the mortgage market - is having serious impacts on the ability of many families to purchase homes.”

Midwestern metros also dominated the list of the most affordable smaller housing markets (defined as those with fewer than 500,000 people). Kokomo, Ind., held the top of that list, followed by Bay City, Mich.; Lansing-East Lansing, Mich.; Mansfield, Ohio; and Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, Mich., in that order.

Maintaining its spot at the bottom of the affordability scale for an eleventh consecutive quarter was Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., where just 3 percent of homes sold in the second three months of this year were affordable to families earning the metro’s median household income of $61,700. As usual, Los Angeles shared the bottom of the affordability scale with other major California metros, including Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine as the second least affordable, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City as the third least affordable and Modesto as the fifth least affordable large housing markets in the nation.

As the fourth least affordable major metro, New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. was the only non-California location within the bottom five.

Continuing the trend, all five of the least affordable small cities (populations under 500,000) were located in California during the second quarter, with Salinas at the very bottom of the chart followed by Merced, Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, and Napa, respectively. 

Visit www.nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.