That’s because the association’s affordability index is a rather narrow measure, assuming a 20 percent down payment and no more than 30 percent of household income servicing the mortgage. Reality is much different, with lenders accepting 40 percent to 50 percent of the household income going toward housing and a huge host of loan products available. As has been the case for months, the High Desert, which includes the Antelope Valley, was the state’s more affordable area – 28 percent of households could afford a median-price home costing $305,700. In Ventura County, 13 percent of households could afford a median-price home costing $685,680. That’s unchanged from July and up 1 percentage point annually. Kleinhenz believes that while affordability is close to the bottom, it could dip lower. An upturn probably isn’t coming soon, though. “Based on what we’ve seen, it can get into these low double digits and stay there for quite some time,” he said. Market analyst Nima Nattagh said that with prices this high, buyers open to the most risk are those taking teaser-rate loans that have an initial low rate but then adjust upward after a period of time. And while the affordability index doesn’t track the sales curve, it does point out a troubling trend. “It really captures the reality that prices have been increasing much faster than household income,” he said. Gregory J. Wilcox, (818) 713-3743 [email protected] PRICED OUT How market forces compared between now and the last time housing affordability dipped to 14 percent in May, June and July of 1989: THEN Median price: $199,400 – $201,600 Interest rate: 10.4% – 10.6% Qualifying income: $68,000 NOW Median price: $568,890 Interest rate: 5.87% Qualifying income: $133,800 Source: California Association of Realtors160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 Affordability in Los Angeles County began moving down in April as prices continued to make hefty annual gains. It had been stuck at 17 percent from June 2004 through March. Robert Kleinhenz, the association’s deputy chief economist, expected affordability to decline in August after the state median price jumped $28,190 from July. “What was surprising was the fact that the median did shoot up by as much as it did,” he said. Interest rates probably played a role. While long-term rates were relatively stable, adjustables have been moving up. Buyers jumped into the market in August to get ahead of the rising rate curve and that pushed up prices and drove down affordability, Kleinhenz said. But while affordability is at all-time lows, sales remain on a record pace in both the state and Los Angeles County. Housing affordability sank to a record low level in Los Angeles County during August and matched its all-time low statewide reached 16 years ago, a trade group said Thursday. Statewide affordability hit 14 percent in August, down an annual 4 percentage points, said the California Association of Realtors. Affordability in Los Angeles County fell an annual 5 percentage points to 12 percent. That’s 2 percentage points under July’s record low. Nationally, affordability was at 48 percent in August. The association measures affordability by the number of households that could qualify for the median-price home – the halfway point between the most and least expensive – in their community.