5 least affordable housing markets (and most affordable ones, too)

Looking to buy a home? Here are five housing markets where the average buyer can't easily afford to buy a home -- and five markets where they can, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

San Francisco

most least expensive san francisco california
  • Rank: #1 least affordable
  • Median home price: $779,000
  • Median income: $101,200
  • % of homes sold that are affordable*: 16%

Even though the average San Francisco-area resident earns a six-figure salary, median home prices are so expensive that only a small percentage can afford to buy a home there. That makes San Fran the least affordable major housing market in the nation, according to National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

Blame part of it on tech riches. All of those IPOs (Twitter, Facebook) have generated a lot of wealth for company insiders and these tech millionaires are bidding up the prices on the most coveted single-family homes.

Related: How much house can you afford?

Yet, something else is at play. Strict underwriting standards are making it tougher for first-time and low-income buyers to get a mortgage, said NAHB's chief economist David Crowe.

That means fewer starter homes are being sold compared to the larger, more pricey ones, pushing overall median home prices higher, he said.

Source: Source: National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index
*The Housing Opportunity Index is the percentage of new and existing homes sold that families earning the area's median income could afford during the third quarter ended September 30, 2013. Prices of new and existing homes are based on figures from CoreLogic and mortgage data is based on rates reported by the Federal Housing Financing Agency.
- Last updated November 14 2013 11:31 AM ET
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