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LIMA, OHIO, MOST AFFORDABLE HOUSING MARKET IN NATION

 /ADVANCE/ WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Lima, Ohio, was the nation's most affordable housing market in the first quarter of 1993, according to the Housing Opportunity Index compiled by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
 "With mortgage interest rates inching down close to 7 percent, the lowest level in 22 years, homes across the country are becoming more affordable. This is a tremendous opportunity for thousands of Americans to own their own homes," said NAHB President J. Roger Glunt.
 The NAHB Housing Opportunity Index measures the ability of a typical family to purchase a home in its own market by comparing median family income with median home price.
 Of the 202 metropolitan areas surveyed, the Lima area posted a score of 94.2 to become the most affordable area in the country, uprooting the Saginaw-Bay City-Midland, Mich., area, the most affordable area in the fourth quarter of 1992, which fell to number two. San Francisco, measuring 14.3 on the Housing Opportunity Index, remained the nation's most expensive city for housing.
 Regional trends did not vary from the last several quarters. The most affordable markets are primarily in the Midwest, with some in the South. The least affordable markets are mostly in the West, particularly California, and the Northeast.
 In Lima, the median income was $37,900 and the median home price was $60,000. According to the mortgage underwriting standards used for calculating the index, at the prevailing interest rate of 7.57 percent, a family could afford to purchase a home costing 3.3 times its annual income, or in this case, $125,070. In Lima, 94.2 percent of the homes sold during the first quarter were priced at or below $125,070, making it the most affordable area in the country.
 Conversely, in San Francisco, where the median income was $54,300 and the median home price was $280,000, the typical family could afford a home costing $179,190. Only 14.3 percent of the homes sold in San Francisco during the first quarter were priced at or below $179,190, making the City by the Bay the least affordable housing market in the country.
 The first quarter tabulations analyzed 278,822 sales of new and existing homes in 202 markets.
 In the first quarter, the national median home price was $105,000. National household income rose in the first quarter to $39,700 from $36,800 in the fourth quarter of 1992. Households earning the national median income of $39,700 could afford to buy 64.7 percent of the homes offered for sale nationwide, up from 60 percent in the fourth quarter.
 "The reason for the improvement in affordability is lower interest rates. With lower rates, more people can realize the American dream of homeownership," Glunt said, noting that the average mortgage rate dropped from 7.76 percent in the fourth quarter of 1992 to 7.57 percent in the first quarter of 1993.
 Of the 25 most affordable markets, 18 were in the Midwest, four were in the Northeast, two were in the South and one was in the West.
 The least affordable markets were found mostly in the West (15 in California) and in the Northeast.
 Regionally, the most affordable housing markets were Lima in the Midwest; Manchester, N.H., in the Northeast; Brazoria, Texas, in the South; and Greeley, Colo., in the West.
 The least affordable markets in each region were San Francisco in the West; Stamford, Conn., in the Northeast; El Paso, Texas, in the South; and Kalamazoo, Mich., in the Midwest.
 -0- 7/22/93/1830
 /CONTACT: Gopal Ahluwalia of the National Association of Home Builders, 202-822-0480/


CO: National Association of Home Builders ST: District of Columbia IN: CST SU: ECO

MH-DS -- DC033 -- 4800 07/22/93 17:13 EDT
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Date:Jul 22, 1993
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