Friday, May 8, 2009

Midwest cities dominate list of most affordable

Take it however you want, but the Midwest is apparently a pretty cheap place to live.

According to the latest rankings from the Center for Housing Policy, the 10 cheapest cities to own a home in the United States are all located in the Midwest.

Saginaw, Mich., and Youngstown, Ohio, ranked in a tie for having the most affordable housing. The median price of a home in these two cities stood at $73,000 in 2008. Next came Lima, Ohio, and Wheeling, located in parts of both Ohio and West Virginia, where homes had a median price of $75,000.

Battle Creek, Mich., and Springfield, Ohio, came in next, each with median housing values of $77,000.

The most expensive cities on the list are no surprise: San Francisco, where the median housing price came in at $575,000, topped the list. New York City was second with its median housing price of $455,000.

You may view the Midwest's affordability as good news. But let's be honest: The reason so many of these cities, especially those clustered in Michigan and Ohio, have such low housing values is because unemployment is sky-high in those areas. There aren't jobs there, and not much reason for people to live there. The unemployment rate in the Youngstown, Ohio, area earlier this year, for instance, was higher than 12 percent.

Housing values in these cities won't increase until jobs find their way back. And that's really not good news.

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