California households, with a median household income of $52,320, are $41,360 short of the $93,680 qualifying income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $406,390 in California, according to the California Association of Realtors Homebuyer Income Gap Index (HIGI) report for the first quarter of 2004, released today.

The HIGI is a quarterly analysis of the difference between the median household income and the qualifying income needed to purchase a median-priced, single-family home for the state and for select regions within the state.

The California index increased 45 percent during the first quarter of 2004 compared to the first quarter of 2003, when the gap stood at $28,530, the median household income was $51,180, and qualifying income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $338,010 was $79,710.

According to the report, potential home buyers in the Central Valley, with a median household income of $40,250, had the smallest income gap at $16,410, and needed qualifying income of $56,660 to purchase a median-priced home at $245,790.

The San Francisco Bay Area had the highest gap in the state at $68,920, where potential home buyers had a median household income of $69,810 but needed qualifying income of $138,730 to purchase a median-priced home at $601,820.

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

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Send tips, feedback or a letter to the editor to dave@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 138.

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