The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home remained at 19 percent in October, unchanged from the previous month, but down 6 percentage points from the same period a year ago, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.

The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $460,370 in California in October was $106,680, based on an average effective mortgage interest rate of 5.7 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment. This figure was up from $88,860 in October 2003, when the median price of a home was $379,120 and the prevailing interest rate was 5.83 percent.

By contrast, the minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $187,000 in the U.S. in October 2004 was $43,330.

At 42 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable region in the state, followed by the Central Valley region at 26 percent. The Santa Barbara region was the least affordable in the state at 9 percent, followed by the Monterey region at 11 percent.

Los Angeles-based C.A.R. is a state trade organization with more than 155,000 members.

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