A seasonal decline in home prices and rising family income led to improved housing affordability in the fourth quarter of 2003, according to the National Association of Realtors. NAR's composite housing affordability index was 139.2 during the quarter, up 2.6 percentage points from 136.6 reported in the third quarter. The index was 1.1 points below the same period a year earlier when it stood at 140.3. The index shows the nation's typical household had 139.2 percent of the income needed to purchase a home at the fourth-quarter median existing-home price, which was $171,600. This index measures affordability factors for all home buyers making a 20 percent down payment, with an index of 100 defined as the point where a median-income family has the exact amount of income needed to purchase a median-priced existing home. The fourth-quarter median family income was projected to be $53,996. David Lereah, NAR's chief economist, said the seasonal decline in the median home price results f...
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