The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home stood at 23 percent in January, unchanged from December, but represented a 6 percentage-point decrease compared to the same period a year ago, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.

The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $405,720 in California in January was $94,020, based on a typical 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 5.7 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment.

The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home was up from $79,690 in January 2003, when the median price of a home was $336,210 and the prevailing interest rate was 5.96 percent. The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $168,700 in the U.S. in January 2004 was $39,090.

At 56 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable region in the state, followed by the Sacramento region at 38 percent. The Monterey region was the least affordable in the state at 14 percent.

Los Angeles-based C.A.R. is a state trade organization with more than 135,000 members.

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