High home prices shut out nearly two-thirds of potential California homebuyers

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Escalating home prices have pushed an affordability index tracked by the California Association of Realtors down to its lowest level in nearly five years.

The share of homebuyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California fell to 36 percent in the second quarter, down from 44 percent in the first quarter and from 51 percent in second-quarter 2012, CAR said. This is the first time the affordability fell below 40 percent since third-quarter 2008.

Homebuyers needed to earn a minimum annual income of $79,910 to qualify for the purchase of a $415,770 statewide median-priced, existing single-family home last quarter, CAR said.

The San Francisco Bay Area and coastal regions posted the sharpest index decreases. San Mateo and San Francisco counties tied as the least affordable counties in the state with an index level of only 17 percent; Madera County was the most affordable at 71 percent.

As of June, California’s median home price had posted monthly double-digit increases for a full year. That month, the price was up 33.5 percent compared to June 2012.

Source: CAR