The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home fell to 18 percent in June, a 9 percentage-point decrease compared to the same month a year ago, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.

The June Housing Affordability Index, which dropped to its lowest level since November 1989, declined one point compared to May, when it stood at 19 points.

The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $469,170 in California in June was $111,690, based on an average effective mortgage interest rate of 6.01 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment. This figure was up from $84,530 in June 2003, when the median price of a home was $374,540 and the prevailing interest rate was 5.4 percent.

In contrast, the minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $191,800 in the U.S. in June 2004 was $45,660.

At 43 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable region in the state, followed by the Sacramento region at 26 percent. The Santa Barbara and San Diego regions were the least affordable regions in the state at 10 percent.

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


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