FEWER THAN HALF OF median-income households can afford the median-priced home. Builders are looking at 2006 as the year to concentrate on affordability.

Higher gas prices and rising interest rates have prompted builders to turn to smaller homes—including attached product—or to offer fewer options as standard. Tom McCormick, president and CEO of Las Vegas–based Astoria Homes, says affordability is his top concern.

But Barbara Allen, an analyst with Avondale Partners, cautions that builders can't always shift their plans as quickly as they'd like. “They're always talking about how the hardest [projects] to get approvals for are the inexpensive ones,” she says, adding that it's easier to get “million-dollar houses” through the approval process than attached product.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Las Vegas, NV.