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The Housing Affordability Index was developed over thirty years ago to help consumers determine when it is a good time to buy a home. It's considered advantageous to the buyer when the index is over 100 because a median income family can qualify for a median price home.
Recent figures released by the National Association of REALTORS' economic department show that the 2011 index of 184.5 is the highest annual average since it has been calculated. The most recent month released, December 2011, was 194.9. The index is also broken down into four regions of the country.
The two major components that contribute to the index are home prices and mortgage interest rates which are lower than they've been in the last five years which account for the dramatic rise in the index since 2006.
The Housing Affordability Index is another indication that this is a good time to buy a home for people who have good credit, a down payment and want a home. It may be the best time we'll see in our lifetimes.