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Near-record affordability in real estate

California metros among least affordable areas in U.S.

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The share of homes that families making the national median income could afford to buy remained above 70 percent for the sixth quarter in a row, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). Nationally, the HOI was at 72.3 percent in the second quarter, unchanged from the same time period last year and close to the index's record-high 72.5 percent, set in first-quarter 2009.The HOI tracks the share of homes sold in a particular area that would have been affordable to a family earning the local median income. The index assumes a family can afford to spend 28 percent of its gross monthly income on housing, according to NAHB's website. Annual median family income estimates by metropolitan area come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In first-quarter 2009, there was a 10.1-percentage-point jump in the affordability index from fourth-quarter 2008, and it marked the first time the index jumped into the 70s r...