Median home price: $76,000
This is a big 5-bed, 4-bath home for just $149,000.
Median income: $54,300
Affordability score: 93%
Youngstown was a vibrant, wealthy steel city for many decades. Workers there were paid some of the highest factory wages anywhere.
But the mill closings of the late 1970s devastated the area's economy and about 40,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. Today, 13% of workers in the area are unemployed.
As jobs vanished, the area's population shrank, leaving lots of vacant homes for sale -- from very modest row houses to huge mansions. That helps keep the median home price in the metro area very low -- and boosts Youngstown's affordability score.
Low interest rates also help. Financing 80% of a $76,000 home with a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage at around 5% would result in a monthly payment of $326. At those kinds of prices, renters soon become homebuyers. Throw in the first-time homebuyers tax credit, which basically refunds about 10% of the purchase price, and you have great deals for entry-level homebuyers.
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