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Number of entry-level home buyers down

The percentage of households that could afford to buy an entry-level home in San Diego County fell to 56 percent in the third quarter of 2009, down from 59 percent in the previous quarter, but up from 51 percent during the same period a year ago, according to figures released Thursday.

The minimum household income needed to purchase an entry-level home at $321,420 in San Diego County in the 2009 third quarter was $56,700, based on an adjustable interest rate of 4.79 percent and assuming a 10 percent down payment, the Los Angeles-based California Association of Realtors reported. The monthly payment, including taxes and insurance, was $1,890, according to CAR.

Statewide, the index — which CAR calls “the most fundamental measure

of housing well-being for first-time buyers in the state” — stood at 64 percent, compared with 55 percent for the same period in 2008.

The minimum household income needed to purchase an entry-level home at $247,150 in California in the third quarter of the year was $43,500, and the monthly payment was $1,450.

At $43,500, the statewide minimum qualifying income was 19 percent lower than a year earlier, when households needed $53,700 to qualify for a loan on an entry-level home, according to CAR.

At 85 percent, the High Desert region was the most affordable area in the state. The San Luis Obispo County region was the least affordable at 47 percent.