Median income: $59,200
Affordability score: 88.6%
Extensive virgin broadleaf forests made Grand Rapids a major lumbering center in the 18th century and escorted in its status as the "furniture city." Its days of building oak dining tables and ice boxes may be mostly gone but it still is a center for office furniture manufacturing.
Today, however, the economy is more diversified. It has some auto plants, which are in decline, and has attracted some health science facilities, consumer goods manufacturers and aerospace products.
With the median price of a home at $102,000, according to the NAHB-Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, and median family income at $59,200, 88.6% of all homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable for the average Joe.
Though not as hard hit as some Rust-Belt cities, Grand Rapids has suffered during the foreclosure plague. Its home county, Kent, recorded one foreclosure filing for every 397 households during January 2009.
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