Homes becoming more affordable

Red home for sale sign on lawn

Think of this as the upside to falling home prices.

One closely watched survey says more homes are accessible to the average family than they've been over the last five years.

About 62% of all new and existing homes that were sold in the fourth quarter of 2008 could be purchased by families earning the national median income of $61,500, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

That's up from the 56.1% of homes that were deemed affordable in the previous quarter. In 2007, only 46.6% of homes were affordable.

Indianapolis, which has been on top of the affordability list 14 times, was the most affordable large metro housing market in the country during the fourth quarter. Large metro markets have more than 500,000 residents.

Slightly more than 93% of all homes sold in Indianapolis were affordable to households earning the local median family income, $65,100.

The Lansing-East Lansing, Mich., market was deemed the most affordable small metro area, because 95% of all new and existing homes that were sold in the final quarter of 2008 were affordable to families earning the area's median income of $62,700.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. was again ranked as the country's least affordable major housing market. Just under 14% of all homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable for families earning the $63,000 median income.

Homes may be more reasonable, but that doesn't mean buyers are snapping them up. Many are still worried about the struggling economy and what future home prices will be.

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