10 Cities Where Homeseekers Should (and Shouldn’t) Buy

Anna Williams
Posted

home affordabilityFor middle-class homebuyers, middle America might be the best bet.

A new Trulia study crunched the numbers on home affordability across the nation for those with a median household income. The result: the most within-reach real estate is largely clustered in a few midwestern states, namely, Ohio.

Five of the top 10 cities were located in the Buckeye State, with the first three spots filled by Akron, Toledo and Dayton, respectively. (In the next state over, Gary, Ind. ranked fourth for affordability, while regional outlier Columbia, S.C. came in fifth.)

In all of these cities, at least 82% of the homes for sale would require monthly payments of no more than 31% of the area’s median household income. (LearnVest generally recommends that mortgage payments not exceed 28% of your monthly take-home pay, although Trulia also took insurance and property taxes into account when considering 31% as affordable.)

But on the West Coast, middle-class homeseekers will be more hard-pressed to find reasonable real estate: Four out of five of the least affordable areas are in California. San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County held the first three spots, with San Diego coming in fifth. And not surprisingly, the fourth place was filled by New York City, where just 25% of available homes could be considered affordable for a middle-class family. In San Francisco, that number dips to just 14%.

If heading to the Heartland isn’t an option for you, learn how to make homebuying more affordable—on any coast—by ignoring these home flaws or strategizing when you buy.