The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home fell to 16 percent in July, down 3 percentage points from a year ago, while affordability in three regions fell to new lows, according to a report released today by the California Association of Realtors.

The July Housing Affordability Index was unchanged from June, when it also stood at 16 percent.

The state’s regions with record-low affordability conditions in July included Los Angeles, with just 14 percent of households there able to buy a median-priced home of $543,890; Riverside/San Bernardino, with 15 percent able to afford a $384,910 price tag; and the High Desert, with 30 percent able to buy a $298,950 home.

The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $540,900 in California in July was $125,670, based on an average effective mortgage interest rate of 5.73 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment. This income figure was up from $109,170 in July 2004, when the median price of a home was $461,760 and the prevailing interest rate was 5.93 percent.

By contrast, the minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home at $218,000 in the United States in July was $50,650.

At 30 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable in the state, followed by the Sacramento region at 20 percent. The Santa Barbara and Northern Wine Country regions were the least affordable in the state at 7 percent.

Los Angeles-based C.A.R. comprises more than 170,000 members.

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