Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC among Most Affordable Markets

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OKC among Most Affordable Markets

Article excerpt

"Conditions in the Midwest, including plentiful land and incomes that are not much lower than those in the Northeast, make many cities there very affordable in comparison to other parts of the country," explained Home Builders President Jim Irvine.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Oklahoma City ranked as the 23rd most affordable housing market during the first quarter.

The Housing Opportunity Index showed that 78.6 percent of the homes sold in the Oklahoma City area were within reach of the median income household at the prevailing mortgage interest rate.

More than half of the 25 most affordable housing markets were found in the Midwest last winter, including Elkhart, Ind., the most affordable of all.

The National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday that 13 Midwestern cities made the top 25 of its Housing Opportunity Index during the first quarter, from January through March.

"Conditions in the Midwest, including plentiful land and incomes that are not much lower than those in the Northeast, make many cities there very affordable in comparison to other parts of the country," explained Home Builders President Jim Irvine.

But the survey of 179 metropolitan areas found that overall housing affordability dipped a bit because of high interest rates. The study covered 455,000 sales of new and existing homes.

Tulsa ranked 66th with 71.4 percent of the homes sold within reach of the median income household at the prevailing mortgage interest rate.

"The year started off with mortgage rates above 9 percent," said Irvine, a Portland, Ore., builder. "Rates did not drop below 8.5 percent until the end of March."

The interest rate used to calculate the index is a national, weighted average of adjustable rate and fixed-rate loans.

Although fixed-rate mortgages peaked in January, rates for adjustable loans continued to climb, boosting the index rate to 8.15 percent from 7.82 percent in the fourth quarter.

As a result, the group's national opportunity index slipped to 61. …

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