Saturday, September 06, 2008

Business Week: Most Affordable Housing? Indianapolis-Carmel

[from Business Week...]

Stacy Williams owns a three-bedroom house with a full basement and central air-conditioning in a quiet neighborhood on the upper west side of Youngstown, Ohio.

Williams, now 33, was earning $8.05 an hour as a manager at McDonald's when she moved into the house with her husband, a laborer at a construction equipment manufacturer, and son back in 2004. The couple's combined annual salary was $33,000. But the purchase didn't require much of a financial stretch: The house cost $48,000. "If you have the credit score to do it, there's nothing that can stop you from buying a home in Youngstown," said Williams, whose plans for the house include a second bathroom.

More from

• Where the Rents Are Higher—and Lower—This Year

• The Best- and Worst-Performing ZIP Codes

• The Cheapest Second Home Markets

A fallout from the real estate slump is that once again many homeowners are forced to look for homes that are within their budget. Access to cheap adjustable-rate mortgages gave many Americans the chance to live in homes that under normal circumstances they could have never afforded. People such as the Williamses are lucky that their income matches up well with the average home prices in Youngstown, but if they had lived somewhere more expensive, they might not have been able to buy their own home or would have spent too much, and now could have been facing the prospect of foreclosure.

So what metro areas are most and least affordable?


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