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For More Affordable Homes, Move to the Middle

The Midwest is home to the most affordable housing markets in the United States, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. The Realtors Affordability Distribution Curve and Score examines the affordability of current housing inventory at various income levels and assigns an affordability score to each state and the 100 largest metros.

Ohio has the most affordable housing in the nation, and four of its metros take spots on the list of the five most affordable major U.S. metros, according to NAR’s data from March 2018.

Ohio’s affordability score is 1.12, according to NAR, which explained that a score of at least 1 indicates an affordable market, while a score lower than one implies a “relatively less affordable market.”

Following Ohio were Indiana and Kansas, both with a score of 1.09. Iowa ranked fourth for affordability with a score of 1.07, followed by West Virginia with a score of 1.05. Other states qualifying as affordable with a score of at least 1 were Alaska, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

The five least affordable states were Hawaii (0.52), California (0.57), Oregon (0.60), District of Columbia (0.64), and Montana (0.64).

The national affordability score was 0.84, which is a 2.3 percent decline from a year earlier.

A total of 29 states experienced declining affordability year-over-year as of March, according to NAR’s data. The sharpest declines were in Idaho with a 12.2 percent fall in affordability, Washington with an 11.7 percent decline, and Nevada with a somewhat less drastic 6.5 percent decline.

The greatest increase in affordability took place in the District of Columbia, where affordability increased by 8.5 percent year-over-year. Hawaii, despite falling on the list of least affordable states, experienced a 4 percent rise in affordability, the second-highest increase of any state. Vermont ranked third with a 3.7 percent increase in its affordability score over the year.

At the metro level, Ohio and Pennsylvania dominated the list of top five most affordable large metros. Youngstown-Warren et al, Ohio-Pennsylvania ranked highest in the nation for affordability with a score of 1.25. It was followed by Dayton, Ohio (1.19); Toledo, Ohio (1.18); Akron, Ohio (1.16); and Scranton-Wilkes-Barre et al, Pennsylvania (1.11).

The least affordable metros in the nation were Los Angeles-Long Beach (0.35); San Diego-Carlsbad, California (0.37); San Jose-Sunnyvale et al, California (0.43); Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California (0.45); and San Francisco-Oakland et al, California (0.48).

The greatest increase in affordability among the 100 largest metros took place in Austin-Round Rock, Texas, where affordability jumped 20 percent year-over-year. The greatest decline took place in Spokane-Spokane Valley, Washington, which posted a 14.8 percent drop in its affordability score.

About Author: Krista Franks Brock

Krista Franks Brock is a professional writer and editor who has covered the mortgage banking and default servicing sectors since 2011. Previously, she served as managing editor of DS News and Southern Distinction, a regional lifestyle publication. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications, including Consumers Digest, Dallas Style and Design, DS News and DSNews.com, MReport and theMReport.com. She holds degrees in journalism and art from the University of Georgia.
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