The Housing Affordability Index reached a record high of 192.3 for February, 2011. Two contributing factors to the Index are the price adjustments homes have experienced in recent years combined with the unusually low mortgage rates make this an outstanding opportunity for buyers who can qualify.
Before the housing bubble burst in 2006, the index average for the year was 108. The high prices and higher interest rates restricted many buyers from purchasing. As the market started to deteriorate, which resulted in declining values and lower interest rates, the index started to rise.
The opportunities are not being seized by buyers and some real estate professionals feel that it's because there is confusion in the marketplace. Buyers are uncertain whether they would qualify and whether now is a good time to be purchasing a home.
All markets are different and every situation is unique. The only certain way to determine would be to investigate your individual situation. You owe it to yourself and your family to visit with a real estate professional who can show you the real cost of housing and recommend a lender.
The National Association of Realtors releases the index at the end of each month with a two month lag time for compiling the information. When the index is at 100, a median income family can afford a median price home. As the index increases, housing affordability increases.