The California Association of Realtors http://www.car.org put out its mid-year forecast this week. They figure the median home price will hit a record $523,150 in 2005, up 16% from 2004’s record of $450,990. The Realtors also project that the percentage of the state’s population that will actually be able to afford a median-priced home will fall to 16% from 20% last year. In other words only one out of every six Californians will be able to buy a typical home in the state. The minimum salary needed to qualify under conventional loan terms: $115,000 a year. Incidentally, the last time that affordability index fell below 20% was 1989, shortly before California housing prices crashed.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.