With 11 southern metros included, the South dominates Forbes’ 2015 Most Affordable Cities list, and there is a historic reason behind this.
“The industry that was located in the South was mostly labor-intensive, compared to capital-intensive industry in the Midwest or on the East Coast,” Ahmad Ijaz, director of economic forecasting at the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research, told Forbes.
“Wages in labor-intensive industries (an example of that would be textiles and apparel, or farming) are much lower than they are in capital-intensive industries. So that’s where the foundation of low costs started.”
That means daily costs, taxes, wages, and housing are all lower than the national average throughout much of the Southern region. Birmingham, Ala., ranks number one, followed by Knoxville, Tenn., Buffalo, N.Y., and Oklahoma City, Okla.
Housing affordability was a main component in Forbes’ criteria to decide which cities make the list. They analyzed numbers from the Q4 2014 Housing Opportunity Index from NAHB and Wells Fargo.