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Hunting for Bargain Homes in the Suburbs

A recent Realtor.com survey looks at the suburban housing market within the 11 biggest metropolitan areas, spotlighting the nation's most affordable suburbs.

While home prices in suburban areas have increased 57.3% since 2013, they pales in comparison to the 93.4% increase found within major cities.

"As more people look to the suburbs for affordability, homes are harder to find there, too," said Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com. "Buyers not willing to go farther out may have to make other trade-offs such as accepting a smaller home or buying a home in need of renovation."

Realtor.com studied ZIP codes in the 11 largest metropolitan areas and filtered out places with violent crimes above 50 on an index of 100 from Sperling's Best Places. It excluded places where rush-hour commutes to the city centers topped an hour. The study then ranked the remaining ZIPs by median home list prices between April 2018 and March 2019.

For homebuyers who can’t afford New York, the suburb of Hillside, New Jersey, has a median home price of $272,000, which is 14% below the national average and a fraction of the $1.45 million average home cost in Manhattan.

While affordability in Los Angeles, California, is improving, the average home cost is still near $900,000. An affordable alternative is La Puente, which has a media home price of $488,100.

According to realtor.com, the multi-billion-dollar Gold Line light-rail extension just north of La Puente will make commutes into L.A. easier and faster, and is expected to give home prices a boost by the time the next phase is completed in 2026.

The most affordable suburb on the list is Gloucester City, New Jersey, which is reported as an affordable alternative to Philadelphia. Median home prices in Gloucester City stand at $86,700, and the city is located across the Delaware River that separates New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Prices remain low, according to realtor.com, due to the surplus of vacant homes that need renovation.

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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