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Whatcom County housing affordability index up in 2014

THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Whatcom County's housing affordability index was up in the first quarter, according to new data from the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.

This area's housing affordability index was 143.3 in the first quarter of 2014, according to a report released by the center, which is based at the University of Washington. That's up from 131.8 in the fourth quarter, but down from the peak of 159.5 in the first quarter of 2013.

The affordability index measures the ability of a typical family to make payments on a median-price home.

With Whatcom's latest index number, a family earning the median income has 43.3 percent more income than the bare minimum required to qualify to buy a median-price home with a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year mortgage. Along with home sales price and income, interest rates are factored into the index.

The statewide index number last quarter was 153.3. San Juan County had the lowest index number in the state, at 88.1. Every other county was above 100.

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