Many Affordable Housing Markets Are in the Rust Belt

March 13, 2018
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In the country's 50 largest metro areas, 10 markets were recently named the most affordable based on the share of median income paid on a 30-year fixed mortgage for an average home.

Of the 10 metros listed in Zillow's latest study, Rust Belt metros include Pittsburg, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Cleveland. Oklahoma City residents spend the smallest share of median income on their mortgages at 10.8 percent. The highest share of spending on mortgages of the metros is 11.9 percent in Kansas City, Missouri. Memphis has the lowest Zillow Home Value Index at $124,800, while Kansas City has the highest, $166,100.

Affordability is a relative concept in housing. Markets that seem affordable, because their median home price is lower than other areas, may actually be unaffordable for people who live there. We measure affordability by the share of median income that residents pay for a 30-year fixed mortgage on a typical home. By that measure, the following 10 markets were the most affordable among the country’s largest 50 metro areas at the end of 2017. 

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