While many prospective home buyers are discouraged by tight lending practices and economic woes, statistics show there’s never been a better time to buy a home. This is true in both sunny San Diego and the rest of the country, where data shows that houses are more affordable than ever. First-timers waiting for the right time to make an offer –  in Escondido, La Jolla, or elsewhere – should not wait any longer. With prices at their lowest, the time is ripe for buying a house, condo, or even a luxury estate.

According to statistical data released by the California Association of Realtors, San Diego homes are more affordable than ever. In the last quarter of 2010, 62% of people could afford starter homes, rising from 57% a year ago. These rates are the highest levels of affordability in the region since 2000. To give you some idea of the significance of these numbers, in 2006 the rate was merely 23%. Real estate experts agree that today’s market truly empowers the buyer.

As an example, a first time buyer in San Diego who wants to purchase a starter-home at $324,190 need only earn an income of $50,100. Assuming a 10% down payment, and an adjustable interest rate of 3.39%, they would only be paying $1,670 a month with taxes and insurance included.

The trend isn’t limited to San Diego; the data is promising for prospective buyers across the U.S. According to the National Association of Home Builders/ Well Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), 73.9% of all new and existing homes sold in the last quarter of 2010 were affordable to families who earn the median income range ($64,000). This is the highest level of affordability that has been measured since the HOI began measuring.

But why are the rates so low? The answer is simple. Home prices have plummeted over the past five or so years. Mortgage lending rates are also at record lows. While mortgage rates are steadily climbing, they have been historically low and currently hover around 5%.

Although this may look like a picture of ease, it doesn’t automatically mean that just anyone can throw down some cash for their dream home. Many buyers are still having trouble due to the tight credit conditions that exist in today’s market. But those with good credit who want to make their first-time buy have the perfect opportunity.

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This is filed under Buying & Selling, Home Buying, Home Buying.

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