America’s 10 Most (and Least) Affordable Places to Own a Home

In some parts of the country the average household spends a whopping 85 percent of its monthly income to cover mortgage, commuting and utilities, according to this analysis.

The grass is sometimes greener, and far more expensive, depending on where you decide to purchase a home and settle down.

According to a recent analysis of housing affordability by real estate site Trulia, home affordability has actually dropped in 89 of the 100 largest housing markets in the country. It said rising home prices and stagnant income growth are primarily to blame.

Housing affordability typically is determined by direct costs only — mortgage payments, taxes and insurance. But Trulia calculated it by including two additional costs — for commuting and utilities. These tangential costs can really add up, the analysis noted.

“For example, households living in metros with cold winters and hot summers might have larger utility bills, and those living in low-density, sprawling metros might have to spend more time and gas driving around town,” Trulia said.

So in an effort to paint a more accurate picture of housing affordability across the U.S., Trulia assumed a 30-year fixed-rate loan at 4 percent interest plus property taxes and insurance, but also figured in average utility charges and commuting costs.

Based on that information, Trulia found that these are the 10 most affordable places to live in the U.S.:

  1. Akron, Ohio: 28.9 percent of a middle-class household’s monthly income is spent on housing, commuting and utilities.
  2. Dayton, Ohio: 30.9 percent
  3. Louisville, Kentucky: 31.1 percent
  4. Kansas City, Missouri: 31.6 percent
  5. Wichita, Kansas: 31.6 percent
  6. Little Rock, Arkansas: 31.9 percent
  7. Cleveland: 32.3 percent
  8. Toledo, Ohio: 32.3 percent
  9. Syracuse, New York: 33.1 percent
  10. St. Louis: 33.2 percent

These are the 10 least affordable places to live in the country, according to Trulia:

  1. San Francisco: 85.5 percent of a middle-class household’s monthly income is spent on housing, commuting and utilities.
  2. Los Angeles: 74.5 percent
  3. Miami: 69.2 percent
  4. San Diego: 64.7 percent
  5. Orange County, California: 63.8 percent
  6. San Jose, California: 61.8 percent
  7. Ventura County, California: 57 percent
  8. Honolulu: 56.2 percent
  9. Oakland, California: 55.9 percent
  10. Fairfield County, Connecticut: 54.5 percent

Click here to see how livable your city is.

What do you think of Trulia’s method of determining housing affordability? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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