WAUKESHA - Lower
interest rates and home prices across the country contributed to
an increase in nationwide housing affordability at the end of
2014, as the median price of a home in the metropolitan
Milwaukee area, as well as the rest of the country, decreased as
the year concluded.
According to the National Association of Home
Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, the national
median price of a home dropped from $220,800 in the third
quarter of 2014, to $215,000 in the fourth quarter. The study,
which was released on Thursday, shows the median price of a home
in the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis region also fell - from
$170,000 in the third quarter to $165 in the fourth quarter.
“This upturn in affordability for the final
quarter of 2014 is a positive development and is in line with
what we are hearing from builders in the field that more
prospective buyers are starting to move forward in the
marketplace,” NAHB Chairman Tom Woods said in a statement.
In all, 62.8 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
$63,900. This is up from the 61.8 percent of homes sold that
were affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.
In the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis region,
those numbers were even higher. Three-quarters of homes sold
over that period were affordable to local families where the
median income was reported at $70,300. Those numbers put the
area in 106th place when compared with all regions, and in 35th
place in the Midwest region.
claimed the title of the nation’s most affordable major housing
market, as 92.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold in
the fourth quarter of 2014 were affordable to families earning
the area’s median income of $67,700.
Also ranking among the most affordable major
housing markets in respective order were Akron, Ohio; Dayton,
Ohio; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.; and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.;
the latter two of which tied for fourth place.
The Duluth, Minn.-Wisconsin area also ranked 22nd
nationally and 11th in its region with affordable homes
available to 87.4 percent of it residents making a median income
of at least $64,300.
“Affordable home prices, historically low
mortgage rates and an improving job market will release pent-up
demand,” NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, “and help keep
the housing market moving forward in the year ahead.”