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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 22, 2002

California homebuyer worst off

Associated Press

Honolulu ranks among the 40 least affordable housing markets in the nation, according to the latest national quarterly survey.

That finding comes from the National Association of Home Builders, which compiles the list each year by comparing family incomes and home prices for metropolitan areas. The latest survey is based on third-quarter numbers for 2001.

Honolulu ranked 146 out of 186 markets studied nationwide. The ranking, while still illustrating the pricey property market, is a big change from Honolulu's standing in 1995 when it ranked as the sixth least affordable U.S. location.

In the latest quarterly survey, the tech boom in California in the late 1990s, coupled with a downturn in Hawai'i's economy in 2001, pushed Honolulu farther down in the rankings.

In the latest survey, 51 percent of homes sold from June to September in the Honolulu area were within reach of median-income families.

San Francisco, meanwhile, no longer topped the list for least affordable housing in the nation, losing the position to Santa Cruz.

The Santa Cruz metro area's median income is more than $65,000 and the median home price is $420,000, up $5,000 from the previous quarterly survey.

San Francisco dropped to second, as its median home price dropped $10,000 to $520,000, still the most expensive median home price.

Nine of the 10 least affordable markets in the nation are in California. The Salinas metro area in Monterey County was third, followed by San Jose, which has a $450,000 median home price — the second most expensive median home price in the nation.

Rounding out the top 10, behind San Jose, were Santa Rosa, the Vallejo-Fairfield-Napa area, the San Luis Obispo-Atascadero-Paso Robles area, Oakland and San Diego.

The Portsmouth-Rochester area in New Hampshire and Maine took 10th in the study.

The most affordable housing was found in Rockford, Ill., which has a median home price of $99,000 and a median family income of $57,100.

Among cities of more than 1 million people, Indianapolis was the most affordable, with a median home price of $130,000 and a median income of $60,700.