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2012 Affordability Record. 2013 to Follow.

Housing Affordability Index Set Record in 2012 & 2013 Projected Close. 2013 a Great Time to Buy if You Can Get a Loan.

2012 was as a record year for housing affordability, and a great year for buyers who could get a mortgage. NAR's Housing... Affordability Index was 198.2 in November. 100 is the point where a median-income household has enough income to qualify for a median-priced home, assuming a 20% downpayment and 25% of gross income devoted to mortgage principal and interest payment.
For 2012, NAR projects the housing affordability index to be a record high 194, up from 186 in 2011, the previous record.

"Home buyers are able to stay within their means but although 2012 was the highest index on record, excessively tight underwriting precluded many would-be buyers from locking-in generational low interest rates. Rising home prices and a gradual uptrend in interest rates will offset improvements in family income, but 2013 will likely be the third best year on record in terms of household buying power. A window of opportunity remains open for buyers who can qualify for a mortgage." L. Yun, NAR chief economist.

NAR projects the affordability index to average 160 in 2013, which means that a median-income family would have 160 percent of the income needed to purchase a median-priced existing single-family home. Conditions vary widely by state but even in the West, where the regional index is lower, the typical family is well positioned in most markets. So IF you can get a loan 2013 is a good year to buy.
excerpts from W. Moloney, NAR

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