WASHINGTON -- Nationwide housing affordability during the second quarter of 2011 hovered for the 10th consecutive quarter near its highest level in the more than 20 years it has been measured, according to National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) data released today.

The HOI indicated that 72.6 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the second quarter of the year were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,200. The affordability measure dipped slightly from the record high of 74.6 percent set last quarter but remained above the 70 percent threshold initially achieved in the first quarter of 2009.

"At a time when homeownership is within reach of more households than it has been for more than two decades and interest rates are at historically low levels, the sluggish economy and the extremely tight credit conditions confronting home buyers and builders remain significant obstacles to many potential home sales," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. "That said, however, some housing markets across the country have stabilized and are beginning to show signs of a budding recovery."

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., was the most affordable major housing market in the country during the second quarter of the year. In Youngstown, 93.7 percent of all homes sold were affordable to households earning the area's median family income of $54,900.

Also ranking near the top of the most affordable major metro housing markets were Syracuse, N.Y.; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; and Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.

Among smaller housing markets, the most affordable was Kokomo, Ind., where 95.8 percent of homes sold during the second quarter of 2011 were affordable to families earning a median income of $59,100. Other smaller housing markets ranking near the top of the index included Wheeling, W.Va.-Ohio; Lansing-East Lansing, Mich.; Bay City, Mich.; and Sandusky, Ohio.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J., led the nation as the least affordable major housing market during the second quarter of 2011. In New York, 25.2 percent of all homes sold during the quarter were affordable to those earning the area's median income of $67,400. This marks the 13th consecutive quarter that the New York metropolitan division has held this position.

Other major metro areas near the bottom of the affordability index included San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.; Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; and Honolulu, respectively.

Ocean City, N.J., where 40.9 percent of the homes were affordable to families earning the median income of $70,100, was the least affordable of the smaller metro housing markets in the country during the second quarter. Other small metro areas ranking near the bottom included Laredo, Texas; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; and Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif.

Please visit www.nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The NAHB/Wells Fargo HOI is a measure of the percentage of homes sold in a given area that are affordable to families earning that area's median income during a specific quarter. Prices of new and existing homes sold are collected from actual court records by First American Real Estate Solutions, a marketing company. Mortgage financing conditions incorporate interest rates on fixed- and adjustable-rate loans reported by the Federal Housing Finance Board.

The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public.

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ABOUT NAHB: The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 160,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. NAHB is affiliated with 800 state and local home builders associations around the country.

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