Home affordability in Fresno drives sales

Home affordability has hit a record high in Fresno County, sparking a buying frenzy that has some real estate agents hoping for more foreclosures.

In June, about 78% of families could afford an entry-level house, a stunning rise from 39% at the height of the housing boom in 2005 and the highest percentage since the index began in 2003.

Even as recently as June 2008, the percentage was 62%.

The California Association of Realtors defines an entry-level home as one costing 85% of the median price.

In June, the entry-level price was about $120,000.

The affordability rate calculates the percentage of households with income sufficient to buy that house with a 10% down payment.

Low interest rates, low prices caused in part by the flood of foreclosures, and an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers -- effective through November -- are helping fuel the market, despite fears about the economy.

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