The most and least affordable housing markets

Where the average Joe can easily afford the average home and where he can't.

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Indianapolis, Ind: The most affordable metro area
Indianapolis
$103,900: A 3-bed, 2-bath brick ranch on 1 third of an acre lot.
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Median home price: $103,000
Median income: $65,100
Affordability score: 93.1%

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

Affordability here is buoyed by fairly high median income of $65,100 and rock bottom home prices. The median price for a home sold during the quarter was just $103,000, according to the National Association of Homebuilders and Wells Fargo.

Those low home prices, combined with reasonable mortgage interest rates make home-buying there a snap. A buyer of a median-priced home putting 20% down would pay only about $450 a month in mortgage expenses. Even though house buying costs are reasonable, the city has not escaped the foreclosure plague. More than 20,000 homes, representing nearly 3% of the city's households, received a foreclosure filing of some kind in 2008, the 26th highest rate in the nation.

The city grew up on a manufacturing base, including many automobile and auto parts makers. The economy now is more diversified with pharmaceuticals, banking, government and insurance all important employers, which has helped keep unemployment - 6.7% in December - below the national average.
NEXT: Warren Mich: 2nd most affordable metro area
Last updated February 26 2009: 12:46 PM ET
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