Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Ranks 28th in Urban Market Home Affordability

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC Ranks 28th in Urban Market Home Affordability

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Oklahoma City ranked 28th among the nation's 174 urban markets in home affordability for the first quarter of 1994.

According to the Housing Opportunity Index listing compiled by the National Association of Home Builders, 87.9 percent of homes sold in Oklahoma City during the quarter were within reach of the median-income household at the prevailing mortgage interest rate.

About 82.5 percent of Tulsa home sales met those qualifications, placing the city at 76th in the nation.

The builders group said that despite slightly higher mortgage rates during the first quarter, housing remained affordable in many areas of the country, particularly in the Midwest and South.

"Although there are many places where affording a home is out of reach for many families, the low mortgage interest rates that we have been enjoying for nearly a year make housing more affordable everywhere," according to Tommy Thompson, president of the association, which conducted the survey.

Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 7.56 percent during the January-March period, up from 7.27 percent the previous three months, the association said. Mortgage rates were in the double digits during most of the 1980s.

"Regional trends remained steady, with the most affordable markets found primarily in the Midwest and in the South, and the least affordable markets mostly in the West, particularly California, and the Northeast," the survey found.

Fifteen of the 25 most affordable areas were in the Midwest, according to the Home Builders' Housing Opportunity Index compiled from the survey of 330,000 sales of new and previously owned homes in the 174 urban markets. Four more were in the South and seven in the Northeast.

The Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J., area topped the index with a 95.6 score. The area, about 40 miles southeast of Philadelphia, replaced Jackson, Mich., as the most affordable.

"Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton is an area of relatively low housing prices and relatively high income and that's why it topped the list of most affordable housing markets," said Thompson, an Owensboro, Ky. …

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