Affordable and Accessible: The markets with the best conditions for today’s buyers

December 1, 2014 by Gina Thelemann in Articles 

Prices have been on the rise for nearly three years in most markets, but low interest rates and an improving economy are keeping first-time and repeat home buyers hopeful.

So as we return to a balanced market nationally, we wanted to know: what are truly the best markets for today's buyers? Where can you not only afford a home with ample square footage, but also find plenty of these larger homes available?

Below, we identify the top ten markets for buyers, in terms of affordability by square footage and the percentage of affordable properties that exist in the market.

Here are the top 10 most affordable and accessible markets for buyers:



Here are the 10 least affordable and accessible markets for buyers:


Wondering where you stand? We assessed all markets with over 100,000 properties here.

Junior high English teacher says, Define your terms:

  • Affordable Square Footage: The total amount of building area that is affordable in a given area
  • Interest Rate: The current, average interest rate for 30-year, fixed conventional mortgages (At time of calculation, this was 4.15%)
  • Median Income: The median family income in this area
  • Median Price: The median, estimated home price in this area
  • Median Price Per Square Foot: The median estimated value per square foot of a property
  • Median Square Footage: The median building size in square footage for this area
  • Monthly Payment: The estimated monthly mortgage payment for the median value of homes in this area
  • Qualifying Income: The income necessary to qualify for a loan for the median value of homes in this area
  • Qualifying Income Ratio: The percent relationship between the median income and the qualifying income in this area


Junior high math teacher says, Show your work:

  • Affordable Square Footage = (Median Square Footage * Qualifying Income Ratio) + Median Square Footage
  • Qualifying Income Ratio = 1 - ((Monthly Payment * 48) / Median Income)
  • Monthly Payment = Median Price * 0.8 * ((Interest Rate / 12) / (1- (1 / (1+Interest Rate / 12) ^ 360)))
  • Average square footage of a La-Z-Boy: We went off the base of the Pinnacle Reclina-Rocker®. Just trust us on this one.

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