Special Report

The 10 Most Affordable Housing Markets in America

4. Upson County, Ga.
> Affordability rate: 6.31%
> Historical avg. affordability: 10.6%
> Household median income: $37,601
> Population density: 83.4 per sq. mile

Like many of the counties with the most affordable housing, Upson residents are quite poor. The typical household earned only $37,601 between 2008 and 2012, and over 9.4% of the population was unemployed. By contrast, the national median household income was $53,046 annually over that period. The historical affordability rate is 10.65%. Yet, the proportion of income needed to afford a home in Upson County has steadily decreased since March 2007, from more than 16% to 6.31% as of May 2014. Currently, the affordability rate is slightly above the historically lowest level the historically lowest level of 5.42% set in October 2011.

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3. Edgecombe County, N.C.
> Affordability rate: 6.17%
> Historical avg. affordability: 7.2%
> Household median income: $40,726
> Population density: 110.9 per sq. mile

Affordable housing in Edgecombe County is among the most readily available in the nation. While the region’s unemployment rate was relatively high at 11.1% this May, residents are not burdened with excessively high homeownership costs. With a median household income of more than $40,000 between 2008 and 2012 and an average home price of just $36,042 last year, annual incomes often exceed area home prices. Both were among the lower figures in the nation. While affordability does not always indicate a healthy housing market, foreclosures in Edgecombe fell more than 42% between the first quarters of 2013 and this year.

2. Lake County, Tenn.
> Affordability rate: 5.75%
> Historical avg. affordability: 7.1%
> Household median income: $33,512
> Population density: 46.9 per sq. mile

While Lake County’s nearly 8,000 residents are relatively poor, Lake County homes are extremely cheap. A typical household earned roughly $33,500 annually between 2008 and 2012, nearly the lowest household median income. Last year, homes cost around $36,500 on average, an increase from previous years, but still among the lowest figures for any county. Area homes reached the most affordable level in February of this year, when just 3.17% of the county’s median income was necessary to afford typical housing.

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1. Chattooga County, Ga.
> Affordability rate: 3.75%
> Historical avg. affordability: 7.2%
> Household median income: $41,864
> Population density: 82.1 per sq. mile

Among all American counties, Chattooga residents needed the smallest percentage of their annual incomes to afford their homes. RealtyTrac estimates that Chattooga households spent only 3.75% of their income on monthly home-related payments, below the historical average of more than 7.2%, and lower than in any month since RealtyTrac started collecting data. This is also despite a considerable jump in home prices, from an average of $39,560 in 2012 to an average of $49,196 last year.

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