A new index tells us the "opportunity" to own a home is at it's highest level in 20 years. So why aren't more of us buying?
A new index tells us the "opportunity" to own a home is at it's highest level in 20 years. So why aren't more of us buying? - 

The pulse is down today on this realization: no matter how you spin it, the housing market in America is still broken.

According to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, 75.9 percent of all homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2011 could have been “comfortably purchased” by families earning the national median income of $64,200. The highest percentage recorded in the two-decade history of the index.

Great. Let’s go buy a house! Not so easy, is it?

While the HOI may be grounded in good arithmetic and even better intentions, for those struggling in the real world of modern-day homeownership, that nugget feels less like a helpful statistic and more like a taunt.

The reality of purchasing a home in today’s economy is far less rosy, to say the least. Millions are underwater on their homes, and those with some cash and a decent job face straightjacket-tight lending restrictions. Add in a shadow inventory of homes in all stages of foreclosure, and it’s going to take more than spin to wake America from its housing nightmare.