Real Estate

NAR: The most and least affordable metro areas in the U.S.

Ilinois was the best, California was the worst, NAR says

Three of the top five affordable metro areas in the nation during the third quarter were in Illinois: Decatur, Springfield and Peoria.

That’s according to a National Association of Realtors ranking that put Wichita Falls, Texas, at No. 4 and the Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa, metro area at No. 5.

At the bottom of the list, the nation’s five least-affordable metro areas were all in California: the San Jose-Santa Clara metro area was the worst, followed by the Anaheim-Irving area. The third-worst was Los Angeles, followed by San Francisco and San Diego.

Eroding affordability and tight inventory could leave some of the nation’s previously fast-growing metro areas unable to sustain economic growth because workers need a place to live, said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

“Even fast-growing markets could be hurt and unable to further expand because of weakening affordability conditions,” he said. “We must improve affordability by building more homes in line with local job market growth.”

The median sale price of a home in Illinois was $200,000 in November, below the U.S. median of $271,300 for the same month. In Calfornia, the median price was $589,770 in November.

Homebuilders who have been on the sidelines since the 2008 financial meltdown are just beginning to get back in the game. U.S. single-family housing starts likely will total 1 million in 2020, the highest since 2007, NAR said in a forecast last month

That’s far more than the 822,000 average of the last five years, and more in line with the 1.1 million annual average between 1958 and 2007, based on government data.

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