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US builders' group says houses are most affordable in 40 years

Post by David Elliott on 21st February 2012 in Industry news, Property markets

A 'perfect storm' of low interest rates and historically low prices means there has never been a better time to be a house-buyer in America, according to one of the country's top builders' organisations.

The US's National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) suggests that, in relation to average household incomes, the cost of house is at its lowest for 20 years. Another recent survey, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was even more upbeat, saying that it is more than 40 years since affordability was at the current levels.

The NAHB figures suggest that more than three-quarters of all home sales completed in the last quarter of 2011 were at prices considered affordable to people on the national median (mid-level) income of $64,200, or £40,560.

But as NAHB chairman Barry Rutenberg pointed out, lenders' tough criteria for handing out loans were still a major sticking point. "Overly restrictive lending conditions ... remain significant obstacles," he said.

Areas singled out by the association as offering especially good value house prices included Modesto, California, Toledo, Ohio and Lakeland-Wintehaven, Florida.

But the highest concentration of 'affordable' homes in the whole country was in Youngstown, Warren and Boardman, districts of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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