Triple Action For the third consecutive quarter, Indianapolis was the nation's most affordable housing market among major metros with populations over 500,000, according to the NAHB/ Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). Just over 90 percent of homes sold in Indianapolis in the first quarter of 2006 were affordable to families earning the area's median household income of $65,100. Also near the top of the list were Youngstown/Warren, Ohio/Boardman, Pa.; Detroit/Livonia/Dearborn, Mich.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Buffalo/Niagara Falls, N.Y., in that order.

Los Angeles/Long Beach/Glendale, Calif., maintained its standing at the very bottom of the affordability chart in the first quarter: Just 1.9 percent of new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the median household income of $56,200. The other major metros at the bottom of the HOI included Santa Ana–Anaheim/Irvine, Calif.; San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos, Calif.; New York/White Plains–Wayne, N.Y./N.J.; and Nassau/Suffolk, N.Y.

Tilting Up Once confined to foundations, driveways, and swimming pools, concrete now accounts for 16 percent of all above-grade residential walls—up from 2 percent in 1993. In response to the material's growing popularity, the NAHB's Concrete Home Building Council (CHBC) has published a new free brochure, “At Home With Concrete: A Guide to Residential Concrete,” to assist builders, contractors, and home buyers interested in residential concrete construction.

The brochure provides an overview of residential concrete, including interior and exterior applications and popular above-grade wall systems. It also highlights the advantages of working with concrete—among them, reduced completion time, durability, sustainability, and design possibilities.

“At Home With Concrete” is available by calling 800-368-5242, ext. 8576, or by visiting

Election Time The NAHB, in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has created a grassroots advocacy and get-out-the-vote tool for the 2006 elections. On Building you can research candidates and issues; locate your polling place; apply for an absentee ballot; and much more. Go to for more information.

Rent Increase Multifamily builder confidence in the rental apartment market soared to a new high in the first quarter of 2006, as rising occupancies and rental rates pointed to increased consumer demand, according to the results of the NAHB/ Fannie Mae Multifamily Housing Market Index (MMI). The survey also found that multifamily builders are less optimistic about the condominium market, which is in the middle of a cool-down. The NAHB has been collecting data for the MMI since the last quarter of 2002.

In the first quarter of 2006, the component of the MMI that tracks current demand saw both moderately priced and lower-rent apartments reaching their highest levels ever, with moderately priced units topping the index at 71.4. Luxury rental apartments rose to reach 61.6. Meanwhile, the index tracking condo supply dipped sharply in the first quarter, down to 37.0 from 66.9 at the same time in 2005.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Indianapolis, IN.