4. Lakeland, Fla.
gallery affordable housing markets lakeland
Median home price: $92,000
Median income: $54,500
% of homes sold that are "affordable"*: 92.3%

Unlike coastal Florida, Lakeland isn't a fashionable tourist draw. Rather, it's a working-class community whose economy revolves around agricultural support for rich citrus farms in the surrounding countryside. It's also the largest metro area on Interstate 4 between Orlando and Tampa, serving the truckers and travelers who travel between the two spots. Incomes are a humble 16% below the national median.

The key to Lakeland's affordability? Home prices bottomed out in early 2011 when they fell to a median of $86,000, according to the index. Although they've recovered some since, they're still a far cry from the height of the real estate bubble, when they were a frothy $201,000.


Source: National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index
* % of new and existing homes sold that families earning that area's median income could afford.
  @CNNMoney - Last updated November 15 2012 10:05 AM ET
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