10. Wayne County, Mich.
> Affordability rate: 7.25%
> Historical avg. affordability: 12.6%
> Household median income: $33,066
> Population density: 2,944.2 per sq. mile
Wayne County has some of the most affordable homes in the nation, although this doesn’t imply economic health. Households in the area earned just $33,066 between 2008 and 2012. Despite having some of the lowest income, households were able to easily afford area homes because housing prices were also exceptionally low. Wayne County is home to Detroit, which filed for bankruptcy in July 2013. Home prices in the area have been on a downward trajectory for decades and suffered a severe blow during the recession. Similarly, the county’s population has dwindled during that time from 1.82 million in 2010 to 1.76 million last year. Wayne area homes were most affordable in 2009, when just 3.4% of a typical income was needed to afford a median-priced home.
9. Hardee County, Fla.
> Affordability rate: 7.24%
> Historical avg. affordability: 13.1%
> Household median income: $40,316
> Population density: 43.7 per sq. mile
Homes in Hardee County are among the nation’s most affordable. The county’s affordability rate of 7.24% is well below the 14-year affordability rate average of more than 13%. Residential properties were the least affordable in 2006, when nearly a third of the area’s median income was required to make payments on a typical home. Now, Hardee homes are near their previously most affordable levels in September 2011. At that time, Hardee residents needed 7.18% of the area’s median household income for payments on a median-priced home.
8. Saginaw County, Mich.
> Affordability rate: 7.10%
> Historical avg. affordability: 12.0%
> Household median income: $42,488
> Population density: 248.8 per sq. mile
Saginaw County, with nearly 200,000 residents, is among the largest of the nation’s most affordable counties for home buyers. When it was least affordable, a home in Saginaw County required residents to earn slightly less than 20% of the median household income. As of last year, the average price paid for a home was just $63,294, lower than in most counties. The city of Saginaw, the largest city in the county, has especially struggled from a weak housing market. A declining population and urban blight, caused by residents moving to the suburbs, have long been problems for the city of Saginaw.