2012 most affordable year for US property

 

2012 was the most affordable year for US property since records began, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The NAR's research, based on the first 11 months of the year, found that 2012 represented a record high for affordability, reaching 194 on the index, up from 186 in 2011, which was the previous record.

Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said home buyers are able to stay well within their means. "Although 2012 was highest on record, the excessively tight underwriting precluded many would-be homebuyers from locking-in generational low interest rates," he said. "Rising home prices and a gradual uptrend in mortgage interest rates will offset improvements in family income, but 2013 likely will be the third best on record in terms of household buying power. A window of opportunity remains open for buyers who can qualify for a mortgage."

NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty in Villa Park, Calif., said the minor erosion in affordability conditions moving forward could be mitigated by bank and regulatory policies. "Clearer rules from the government regarding future lawsuits and buybacks of Fannie and Freddie loans could encourage banks to use their massive cash holdings to originate more loans," he said.

"A more sensible lending environment that makes it easier for other financially qualified buyers to get a mortgage would allow many more households to enter the market, boosting home sales as much as 10 to 15 percent," Thomas said.

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