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Most (and least) affordable cities to buy a house

Here are the 5 metro areas where the average American family can afford to purchase a median-priced home -- and the 5 where they can't.

1 of 10
Most affordable: Indianapolis
Most affordable: Indianapolis
$519,900 buys a four-bed, 5,000-square-foot home outside Indianapolis.
Median home price: $105,000
Median income: $68,100
Affordability score: 94.5%

America's most affordable housing market is the 33rd largest metro area in the United States, with 1.7 million people.

The median family income is fairly high -- $68,100 -- and home prices are a very reasonable median $107,000, according to the National Association of Homebuilders and Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

Helping keep home prices depressed is a fairly virulent foreclosure plague: There were more than 16,000 properties with foreclosure filings during the first nine months of the year.

The turmoil in the auto industry, which Indianapolis had been closely associated with, has hurt the city. But increased diversification, which has made pharmaceutical companies, banks government agencies and insurers all important employers, has helped keep job losses in check. The unemployment rate was just 7.7% in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, well below the national rate of 9.8% that month.
NEXT: 2nd place: Youngstown, Ohio
Last updated November 25 2009: 10:08 AM ET
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Source: National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index for the third quarter of 2009.
The NAHB judges a home to be affordable if a family making the metro area's median income could devote no more than 28% of their take-home pay toward housing costs.
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