The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home inched higher to 24 percent in February, up 1 percentage point from January, but down 6 percentage points from the same period a year ago when the index was at 30 percent, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.


The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $394,300 in California in February was $91,690, based on a typical 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 5.74 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment. This was down from the $94,020 minimum household income necessary to afford a home in January 2004, when the median price stood at $405,720, but up from $77,220 in February 2003, when the median price of a home was $326,640 and the prevailing interest rate was 5.93 percent.


The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $168,100 in the United States in February 2004 was $39,090.


At 55 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable in the state, followed by the Sacramento region at 35 percent. The San Luis Obispo 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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