Houses: Sort of Affordable Again


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More affordable than they've been in almost a decade, anyway. In August, low interest rates and sagging pricetags combined to make the median-priced Humboldt County home more affordable (as a percentage of the median household income) than it's been since February of 2002, according to data released today by the Humboldt Association of Realtors.

Here are the numbers: The median price of all the homes sold in Humboldt County in August was $228,500, down $12,400 from the previous month. Meanwhile, the median household income that month was $44,175, and the average mortgage rate was 4.69 percent.

Indulge a hypothetical: Say your family makes exactly the median income and in August you bought a house that cost exactly that median price -- $228,500. Your monthly payment (including principle, interest, taxes and insurance) would be $1,192.61, or 32 percent of your family's monthly income.

That's within spitting distance of the standard bank guideline of 28 percent. (And we're assuming your family doesn't have any, uh, unreported income.)

County home sales have been all over the map recently, rising and falling with no discernible pattern. Check out the crazy home sales graph in the latest issue of the Humboldt Economic Index. That report also points out that 90 homes sold in Humboldt County in August -- the most in a single month since June of '08.



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