Most Affordable Markets in the U.S.

In its annual survey of most- and least-affordable housing markets, BusinessWeek quoted a number of experts who believe that for many people, the current low interest rates and low housing prices have combined to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy a home.

Dennis Torres, executive director of real estate operations at Pepperdine University, says, "People are going to talk about this as 'I could have, I should have' for decades," he said. "If you're confident that you'll stay in the location for seven years and you're confident of your income, don't walk, run."

To calculate the most- and least-affordable areas, BusinessWeek considered the share of homes sold in the second quarter of this year that would have been affordable to a family earning the local median income. Housing costs were calculated using new and existing sales records supplied by First American Real Estate Solutions and include principal, interest, estimated property taxes, and insurance.

Here are the 10 most-affordable areas:

1. Kokomo, Ind.
2. Lansing-East Lansing, Mich.
3. Mansfield, Ohio
4. Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.
5. Lima, Ohio
6. Bay City, Mich.
7. Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.
8. Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, Mich.
9. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.
10. Canton-Massillon, Ohio

Here are the 10 that are least affordable:

1. New York-White Plains, N.Y.-Wayne, N.J.
2. San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.
3. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.
4. Ocean City, N.J.
5. Honolulu
6. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif.
7. Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif.
8. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, Calif.
9. Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), N.Y.
10. Flagstaff, Ariz.

Source: Business Week, Prashant Gopal (09/11/2009

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