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More Californians Can Afford Entry-Level Home, But Do You Want One?

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More first-time home buyers can enter the market, according to a study released yesterday by the California Association of Realtors. Using the fancy-sounding "First-time Buyer Housing Affordability Index (FTB-HAI)," which measures the
percentage of households that can afford to purchase an entry-level home, CAR reports that that figure was 44 percent during the first quarter, compared with 26 percent a year ago. Los Angeles County figures were 35 percent compared to 21 percent for the same time period. The reason for the rise, according to the CAR, is the drop in the median home price in California and continued low interest rates. But let's crunch the numbers to see what you need to get in: CAR pegs a starter home at $356,350, which requires a household income of $67,830. Boiled down: "The monthly payment including taxes and insurance was $2,260 for the first quarter of 2008." Pictured: A three-bedroom home at 1028 W 65th St. that's listed at $365,000.
· C.A.R. reports entry-level housing affordability rises 18 percentage points in first quarter [CAR]