Housing Affordability Holds Steady in Fourth Quarter
WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 – Slightly lower median home prices along with a small uptick in mortgage rates contributed to housing affordability holding steady in the fourth quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released today.
In all, 64.7 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $64,400. This is virtually the same as the 64.5 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the national median home price dipped from $211,000 in the third quarter to $205,000 in the fourth quarter while average mortgage interest rates rose from 4.45 percent to 4.54 percent in the same period.
“Housing affordability is stabilizing at a time when pent-up demand and ongoing job growth are helping housing markets across the nation to gradually strengthen,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly, a home builder and developer from Wilmington, Del. “While this bodes well for housing in 2014, builders continue to face challenges, including tight credit for home buyers, inaccurate appraisals, and a shortage of workers and buildable lots.”
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa was the nation’s most affordable major housing market, as 89.4 percent of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the areas’ median incomes of $53,900. Meanwhile, Kokomo, Ind., claimed the title of most affordable smaller market, with 96.3 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter being affordable to those earning the median income of $60,100.
Other major U.S. housing markets at the top of the affordability chart in the fourth quarter included Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; in descending order.
Smaller markets joining Kokomo at the top of the affordability chart included Springfield, Ohio; Monroe, Mich.; Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J.; and Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.
For a fifth consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. held the lowest spot among major markets on the affordability chart. There, just 14.1 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $101,200.
Other major metros at the bottom of the affordability chart included Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.; New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J.; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; in descending order.
All of the five least affordable small housing markets were in California. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Santa Cruz-Watsonville, where 18.6 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $73,800. Other small markets at the lowest end of the affordability scale included Salinas, San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Napa, and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, respectively.
Please visit nahb.org/hoi for tables, historic data and details.
Unpaid Real Estate Taxes to be Advertised in March
New Hanover County property owners with outstanding tax bills have one week to avoid seeing their names published in area newspapers.
Unpaid real estate taxes will be advertised in March, unless all payments are received and processed by the New Hanover County Tax Office by 5:00 p.m., February 28. US Postal Service postmarks will not be considered proof of payment by the deadline. In addition to the unpaid taxes, the cost of advertising will be added to the tax bill.
The property owner’s name and amount of tax owed will be published. Advertisements will appear in the Island Gazette, Lumina News, Star News (print & online), and the Wilmington Journal.
Advertisement of tax liens is the first step in the foreclosure process.
New Hanover County Comprehensive Plan Launch
New Hanover County is excited to announce the public launch of Plan NHC, the New Hanover County Comprehensive Plan on February 27th from 3-5pm at the Government Center! This will be an opportunity for the community to learn more about Plan NHC, how to become involved, and what the plan means for our community.
This plan will be a guide that addresses our community’s current development trends, determines a vision for how the County should develop over the next twenty five years, and presents a strategy for how to achieve this vision.
The County is working hard to engage all members of our community in an open dialogue. Over the next year we will hold numerous meetings throughout the County to solicit your input. Additionally, we want to hold an online conversation with you. Your feedback will help County officials better understand the issues that are important to you and how best to address these issues.
We need you to help us by being a part of the solution! Visitwww.feedbacknhc.com, sign up, sign in, and share your thoughts through Feedback NHC. We will use your input to help create a vision and supporting policies so this vision can be part of our future.
New App Helps Reduce Call Backs and Costs
Norbord has introduced a new app that enables builders, framers, and DIYers to work effectively with all of their OSB products. The app, called Onsite, debuted at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas this week.
Onsite provides information and education and can be used on smartphones or tablets. The app includes tips on proper installation, care, and storage of Norbord’s OSB products and a detailed troubleshooting function. Users will also find illustrations, text, and how-to videos.
Mike Dawson, VP Sales, Marketing and Logistics at Norbord said, “We talked to builders, trades, pro dealers, and industry associations about the most common and frequent installation mistakes. Those conversations led to the development of our new app that can remind experienced crews and train new framers on the correct way to install structural panels, reducing call backs and construction times.”
You can download Onsite for iPhone, iPad, or Android at www.norbord.com/onsiteapp.
NAHB Board Approves Comprehensive “Green” Policy
The resolution details NAHB’s support for sustainable, high performance new home construction and remodeling, and it identifies the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) as NAHB’s preferred green building standard. It also states that NAHB will seek to promote the benefits and value of green certified homes and projects and will work to create greater awareness of the ICC 700 NGBS and the Certified Green Professional and Master Certified Green Professional designations.