Most (and least) affordable cities to buy a house

These are the five major U.S. metro areas with the most affordable (and five with the least affordable) home prices.

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74% of all homes sold are affordable
74% of all homes sold are affordable
Homes sold late last year were very affordable, including this house in Syracuse, N.Y.
Median home price: $175,000
Median family income: $64,400
Affordability score: 73.9

There's at least one benefit to the depressed housing market: Buying a home has become affordable.

In fact, home affordability hit a record high in the last quarter of 2010, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The index found that 73.9% of all new and existing homes sold between October and December 2010 were affordable for families earning the median national income.

In some communities, virtually every home sold was affordable for typical working families. In Elkhart, Ind., for example, the 97% score meant that only 3% of homes sold were beyond the reach the average working family.

On the other end of the spectrum was New York, where less than a quarter of homes sold could be purchased by those earning the city's median wages.

Read on for the most affordable (and least) large metro areas in the country.

NEXT: Most affordable: Indianapolis
Last updated February 23 2011: 3:17 PM ET
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