The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home sank to 20 percent in April, a 7 percentage-point decrease compared to the same period a year ago, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.

The April Housing Affordability Index declined one point compared to March, when it stood at 21 points.

The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $453,590 in California in April was $102,550, based on a typical 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 5.42 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment. This figure was up from $84,510 in April 2003, when the median price of a home was $364,040 and the prevailing interest rate was 5.72 percent.

The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $176,000 in the U.S. in April 2004 was $39,790.

At 52 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable in the state, followed by the Sacramento region at 33 percent. The Monterey region was the least affordable region in the state at 12 percent.

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

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