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Kokomo, Ind., has most affordable housing marketKokomo,...


Kokomo, Ind., has most affordable housing market

Kokomo, Ind., was the nation's most affordable housing market in the final quarter of 1999, as higher interest rates caused overall U.S. housing affordability to decline significantly from 1998.

According to the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Opportunity Index, families earning the median income of $47,800 could afford to buy 63.8 percent of the homes sold nationwide at the end of 1999, down 2.4 percent from 1998."The decline is almost certainly a reflection of higher mortgage interest rates, which have made it difficult for many families to become homeowners," said NAHB President Robert Mitchell.

The Baltimore metropolitan area was ranked 60th. Families earning the median income of $60,600 could afford to purchase 74.6 percent of the homes sold in the region.

Muncie, Ind.; Lima, Ohio; Springfield, Ill.; and Rockford, Ill., rounded out the top five most-affordable metropolitan areas, while San Francisco; Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; Salinas, Calif.; and Santa Rosa, Calif., were the most expensive housing markets.

The median price for a San Francisco home rose to $420,000 in the fourth quarter of 1999, from $350,000 for the same period in 1998.

The Midwest was the most affordable region in the study, with 14 markets among the 25 most affordable.

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