LOS ANGELES (Inman News Features) - The percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home increased two percentage points in December compared with the year-ago figure, according to a report released today by the Los Angeles-based California Association of Realtors. The December 2001 housing affordability index stood at 34 percent, up two points from 32 percent in December 2000, according to C.A.R. The December index decreased one point compared with November 2001?s index.

"Low mortgage interest rates continued to offset gains in the median price of a home in California, which hit $276,940 in December last year," said C.A.R. President Robert Bailey. "For all of 2001, affordability in the state was at 33 percent, a one-point improvement from 32 percent in 2000."

According to C.A.R., San Francisco was the least affordable county in the state with an index reading of 15 percent, followed by Contra Costa at 18 percent.

The most recent national affordability figure was 57 percent.