The average home for the average first-time homebuyer is less affordable this year than last year, says the University of Washington's Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies.

If an average first-time homebuyer can just afford the payments on the average home price in their area, that area is given a "Home Affordability Index" score of 100.

In Benton County, that score is 121, meaning it is easy for a first-time buyer to find an affordable home.

The Washington state average is less than 79, down from 86 a year ago.

Franklin County's score is 68 but most local real estate experts say that's bogus. There are just as many low-priced homes and first-time buyer assistance programs as in Benton County.

One reason the state average is down is the rising prices in the Puget Sound region. A booming economy fueled by high-paying tech jobs means single-family home prices are skyrocketing there. If your family makes the median household income for the area, affording a Seattle home is harder than ever.

chris sadowski