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Housing affordability at an all-time high

National Association of Home Builders says it's never been more affordable to own a home.

National Association of Home Builders says it's never been more affordable to own a home.

When a real estate broker tells a prospective mover that it's never been more affordable to own a home, he or she means that literally.

According to a nationwide housing affordability survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, there has never been more inexpensive homes in the market. At least not in the past 20 years, which is how long the statistic has been tracked.

"Today's report shows that housing affordability at the end of 2010 was at its highest level since we started computing the Housing Opportunity Index," said Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

Atop the housing markets deemed most affordable in 2010 was the Indianapolis-Carmel area. For families earning an income of $68,700 per year, almost 94 percent of Indianapolis homes were in homeowners' price range last year.

Some of the costliest communities were at the coasts, as New York and New jersey were the least affordable housing markets. That makes 11 straight quarters New York has had that distinction.

California was also considered to be among the least affordable states, a fact which may have led to more distressed homeowners in the state. A separate report released earlier this week found California had increased its notice of default filings by about 7 percent last month.