Mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance aren’t the only factors affecting housing affordability, Trulia housing economist Ralph McLaughlin writes.
“The cost of commuting and utilities can also play a big role depending on where you live,” he says. For example, residents of towns in colder climates where homes are affordable can end up paying the same amount as residents of towns in more temperate areas with higher home prices, due to increased utility costs.
Another example is Manhattan, where property-related costs compared to its surrounding suburbs can be greatly higher, but residents can get by with small commuting costs.
The most affordable places to live, based on percentage of monthly middle-class income spent on housing, commuting, and utilities, are Akron, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Louisville, Ky.; Kansas City, Mo., and Wichita, Kan.