The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home fell to 19 percent in May, an 8 percentage-point decrease compared to the same period a year ago, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.

The May Housing Affordability Index declined one point compared to April, when it stood at 20 points.

The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $465,160 in California in May was $108,450, based on a typical 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 5.77 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment. This figure was up from $84,600 in May 2003, when the median price of a home was $367,630 and the prevailing interest rate was 5.62 percent.

In contrast, the minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $183,600 in the U.S. in May 2004 was $42,810.

At 46 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable in the state, followed by the Sacramento region at 29 percent. The Santa Barbara region was the least affordable region in the state at 7 percent.

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

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