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Whatcom's housing affordability index dips in second quarter

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

This area's housing affordability index was 132.6 in the second quarter of 2014, down from 143.3 in the first quarter, according to a report released by the center, which is based at the University of Washington.

In recent years Whatcom's peak was 159.5, set 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 32.6 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.

Nearly every county in Washington state had an affordability index above 100, according to the report. The one exception was San Juan County, which had an index score of 90.1.

The statewide index number last quarter was 144.2.

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