Affordability a 'C-': Are we nuts?

Perspective: Dissecting real estate's latest report card

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Before I get into our affordability calculations, let me explain the methodology behind all of the grades below.

1. We collect a complete history on 70-plus variables and forecast the important ones by forecasting each metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and rolling it up.

2. In this monthly e-mail, we publish the current stats along with the historical minimums, maximums and averages as a service to the industry.

3. Each indicator is graded based on a bell curve where an "A" is its historical best, a "C" is its historical average, and an "F" is its historical worst. The grades are designed to provide a simple tool for decision-makers to scan the data.