STANISLAUS COUNTY -- While home prices slowly have edged up, Stanislaus County remains one of America's most affordable communities for home buyers.
The recently released Housing Opportunity Index shows that 90.3 percent of Stanislaus homes sold during October, November and December were affordable for the county's middle-income families.
That index, developed by the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Bank, has documented the wild swings in Stanislaus' housing market.
At the 2005 peak of the county's real estate boom, only 3 percent of Stanislaus homes sold were affordable to middle-income families. Stanislaus' median-priced houses were fetching $396,000 back then.
The median-priced home this January sold for $150,000. That relatively modest price combined with record-low mortgage interest rates make buying affordable.
"The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers because it shows that homeownership remains within reach of median- income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path," said Rick Judson, chairman for the national builders group.
Nationwide, 74.9 percent of homes sold from October through December were affordable to median-income families.
In Merced County, 89.1 percent of homes were affordable. In San Joaquin County, that figure was 83.5 percent.
Bee staff writer J.N. Sbranti can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2196.