Headlines in the housing market are centered around high mortgage rates, limited available homes for sale, and significant affordability challenges. While the dream of homeownership may seem out of reach for many, affordability is still present in the market. Realtor.com analyzed data for the 100 largest metro areas and determined the 10 most affordable major housing markets.
Each metro has a median list price below $300,000 and tends to be located in the Midwest and South. Additionally, seven of the 10 had below-average unemployment rates, suggesting the presence of a growing job market. The list includes: Toledo, Ohio; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Rochester, New York; Detroit; St. Louis; McAllen, Texas; Birmingham, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; Wichita, Kansas; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1. Toledo, Ohio
Median list price in October: $205,725
First-time homebuyers might want to set their sights on Toledo, which sits at the western tip of Lake Erie on the border of Michigan.
Long known for its glass industry and auto manufacturing (it’s where Jeeps are made), Toledo is redefining itself as a charming, urban destination that proudly recognizes its roots.
In recent years, Rick Turner, a real estate agent with Key Realty in Toledo, says he has seen a number of investors from out of state taking advantage of Toledo’s low home prices. They typically arrive with all-cash offers in hand.
“A lot of them are coming in buying properties and totally renovating them and then putting them up for rent,” he says.
2. Scranton, Pennsylvania
Median list price in October: $239,495
Scrappy Scranton is ready to shed its primary identity as the headquarters for the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. from “The Office.” The largest city in Northeastern Pennsylvania is becoming more and more popular for homebuyers looking for a bargain and a nice lifestyle.
Located in the Lackawanna Valley and surrounded by mountains, lakes, parks, and biking trails, the city is loved by outdoor enthusiasts thanks to the four state parks within a 30-minute radius of the town center. It’s also home to five colleges and universities.
The city began reinventing its image after the decline of the coal industry. Visitors can learn about the city’s industrious past at the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum and nearby Lackawanna County Coal Mine. Today Scranton hosts arts, cultural, and culinary festivals around the year.
3. Rochester, New York
Median list price in October: $249,949
Rochester—known as both “the Flour City” and “the Flower City” for its dual roles in flour and floral production—has been a popular destination recently for those looking for a lower cost of living and more affordable home prices. It’s repeatedly earned a place at the top of the Realtor.com monthly hottest markets list.
Even though the city did see a major population decline after the deindustrialization of the late 20th century, the Rochester metro area now boasts a population of more than 1 million residents. Most of the for-sale housing is single-family homes, but there are also townhomes as well as new construction.Read More