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ABQ metro does well in housing affordability

affordALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The housing market in the Albuquerque metro area looked pretty user friendly in the first quarter, based on an industry index of home affordability released Tuesday.

Of all new and existing homes sold between January and March, 72 percent were sold at a price affordable to a family making the metro’s median annual income, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

On average nationwide, 65.5 percent of all home sold in the first quarter were affordable to a family making the median income.

Among major metros, Syracuse, N.Y., was the most affordable at 93.7 percent, while San Francisco was the least affordable at 13.3 percent.

“As home prices and mortgage interest rates are unlikely to go down, the first-quarter HOI is another indicator that this is an opportune time to buy,” said NAHB chief economist David Crowe in a prepared statement.

Albuquerque ranked 138 out of 225 metros for its affordability, down from a rank of 99 in the first quarter of 2013 when 84 percent of the homes sold were affordable to a family with a median income. The 84 percent figure was an all-time high.


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The index is based on what could be described as fairly conservative lending standards: a 10 percent downpayment with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Another assumption is that the family can afford to pay 28 percent of its gross income on housing.

The two main components of the index are median home price, which was $175,000 in the first quarter, and median household income, which was $57,800 a year. Median means the middle point in the range of home prices and incomes.

Albuquerque home price affordability was hurt in the first quarter by an 8.1 percent decrease in median household income, from $62,900 a year in 2013 to $57,800 in 2014. The index uses median income estimates by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The upshot is that households have less buying power in 2014 than they did in 2013. Albuquerque was one of 131 metros tracked by the index to see a decrease in median income.

As for median home sales price, Albuquerque has seen it go up and down for roughly two years. The first-quarter median price was down about 4 percent from a year earlier.