real estate

Affordable housing areas in America

Affordable housing areas in America

A house with a white picket fence has been a quintessential part of the American dream since its inception. Unfortunately, due to mounting living costs and the fact the economy is in shambles, fewer and fewer people each year get to live the American dream and get the American nightmare instead. Once your mortgage payments cease, the dream will turn into a nightmare, that much is certain – especially if you live in California, home of some of the least affordable housing areas in the U.S. right now. But not everything is so bleak, as there are some affordable counties you can move to. Actually, it is; there’s probably a reason people don’t want to live there, that made housing prices plummet.

One of them is Wayne County, Michigan. The reason for the low housing prices is the relatively low population density along with a sharp decline in average median income. Since Detroit went bankrupt in 2013, people started moving out en masse. Actually, the trend started a long time ago, with the decline of U.S. car industry, but lately things have escalated. Since people started moving out and crime rate skyrocketed, the only way for housing prices was down.

The next on the list is Hardee County, Florida. Since 2006, the affordability rate has been on the decline, reaching an all-time minimum back in 2011. With more than $40,000 in average household median income, Hardee County is not exactly the richest out there, but the prices are reasonable. The last big hurricane was hurricane Charley, back in 2004, but if you’re going to live in Florida, the least you can expect is a hurricane (or two), every now and then.

Saginaw County, Michigan has seen a huge drop in housing prices in the last few decades. It is a nice, quiet county, at least compared to the first entry on our list, but it also has its share of troubles concerning the housing market. The largest place is the city of Saginaw, and it has experienced a massive decline of population, as people fled from the inner city to the suburbs. With the economy being what it is, the situation is unlikely to change.

Lamar County, Georgia is another worthwhile mention. What separates is from similar counties is the fact that homes seem unusually affordable, despite the level of income, which is quite low, a little over $33,500. Housing costs in Lamar county have been on constant decline, even when other counties in Georgia experienced an increase. The reasons for this are numerous: from low income of local population, to housing boon in Atlanta to the fact that there are simply too many homes on the market today and few people can afford them.

Next we have Obion County, Tennessee. Since 2012, home prices have been in the vicinity of $50,000, and the affordability rate has been steady ever since. Naturally, it is significantly lower even in comparison to that of Obion’s neighboring counties. So, not only is the pricing low, it’s Tennessee low.

Slightly in the lead is Barnwell County, South Carolina. The fact that it takes less than 7% of the median income to buy an average home, compared to 12% which is the U.S. average, makes this county one of the top 5 picks in cheapest housing. Although, one of the lowest average income per capita in the U.S. may have contributed to this score. Prices are low, but the income is even lower; hence, cheap housing.

You thought this was cheap? Wait till you see the prices in Upson County, Georgia. The typical median home requires only 6.3% of the local median income to buy. Unusually high unemployment rate is considered the main reason for this. The economy may be on the rise, but Upson residents can’t feel it. If this trend of declining prices continues, it may well beat the old record set in October 2011.

However, these prices have nothing on Edge combe County, North Carolina, and its 6.17% affordability rate. Unemployment may be one of the highest in the state, but the offer is plentiful, so housing costs is the least of their worries. It would seem that most people who couldn’t afford their homes already had them foreclosed, as the foreclosure rates have been almost halved compared to two years ago.

While Tennessee is nobody’s first thought when talking about wealth, the population of Lake County take this even further. Likewise, the housing prices are among the lowest in the U.S., requiring only 5.75% of average median income for a median home. The prices were so low, that people actually started buying homes; now they have risen a bit, but they are still quite favorable, if you don’t mind moving to Tennessee.

And this year’s award goes to Chattooga County, Georgia, with 3.75% affordability rate, which is the percentage of average annual income spent on housing. Needless to say, the demand has relatively increased over the last few years, with a sharp increase in property value, to roughly $50,000 on average last year alone.

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