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ORANGE COUNTY, CA-The demand for multifamily product is on the rise in Orange County, as a recently released statewide survey names the region as the least affordable county in Southern California to buy a house.

The survey, known as the Housing Affordability Index, measures the percentage of households that can afford to purchase a median-priced home in California. The most recent survey, released yesterday by the California Association of Realtors, shows statistics for the month of May. Orange County ranked at 23% for housing affordability, down from 26% in May 2000.

As houses become less affordable in the county, the region’s already burgeoning rental base is continuing to grow, making Orange County one of the hottest multifamily markets in the Southland.

San Diego ranked right below Orange County on the Housing Affordability Index, with 24% affordability. Los Angeles County ranked at 36% affordability.

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