These are the most affordable up-and-coming counties in America

FeaturedMoney

Written by:

 

The rising cost of real estate has challenged many homebuyers in recent years. A 2021 survey found that about half of Americans (49%) considered the affordability of housing in their communities a major problem. In many places, homeownership is now unaffordable for locals and newcomers alike.

Fortunately, this isn’t true everywhere. MoneyGeek analyzed price appreciation since 2019 and homeownership costs as a percentage of median income to find 20 growing U.S. counties where housing is still affordable.

  • Clayton County, Georgia, and Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, top our list for growing communities with affordable housing. Located in the Greater Atlanta metro area, Clayton County home prices have appreciated 83.1% in the past three years; during the same period, Cumberland County homes in the Greater Harrisburg metro area appreciated 53.4%.
  • More than half — 13 out of 20 — of the affordable and desirable places on our list are in the Southeastern U.S. Those counties pop up more in South Carolina than in any other state.
  • Home prices as a percentage of income were lowest in Lexington County, South Carolina — in the Columbia metro area — at 34% of income. Hidalgo County, Texas, and Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, tied for the next two lowest at 38%.
  • Most of the cities on this list are ‌in tertiary real estate markets. Some of these smaller metro areas — like Hidalgo, Lubbock and Webb County in Texas — have median home prices that fall under $200,000. That’s 53% less than the median price of houses sold in the U.S. in Q1 2022.
  • None of the median home prices on our list exceeded $272,000, which is 37% less than the national median home price of $428,700.

 

______________________

SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals get started now.

______________________

 

 

 

Image Credit: Feverpitched/ istockphoto .

Growing US counties where housing is still affordable

To find our list of affordable, growing counties, MoneyGeek narrowed down counties with populations larger than 250,000 that experienced population growth above the national average. The analysis ranked these counties using two primary factors: home price appreciation since 2019 and homeownership costs as a percentage of median income.

View our breakdown of the top five counties on our list — as well as our complete ranking of the best 20 counties for homebuyers in the U.S — below.

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

20. Knox County, Tennessee

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

19. Webb County, Texas

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

18. Richland County, South Carolina

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

17. Greenville County, South Carolina

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

16. Douglas County, Nebraska

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

15. Forsyth County, North Carolina

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

14. Lubbock County, Texas

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

13. Pasco County, Florida

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

12. St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

11. Spartanburg County, South Carolina

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

10. Tulsa County, Oklahoma

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

9. Escambia County, Florida

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

8. Benton County, Arkansas

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

7. Oklahoma County, Oklahoma

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

6. Hidalgo County, Texas

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

5. Marion County, Florida

Strong commercial and residential growth and increased house construction contribute to the affordability and attractiveness of this county in the Ocala metro area.

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

4. Madison County, Alabama

This county is home to Huntsville, Alabama, which was ranked as the best place to live in 2022 by U.S. News. With homes that start at a lower price threshold, low costs of living and growing job opportunities, it’s no wonder that people are flocking to this Northern Alabama county.

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

3. Lexington County, South Carolina

Migration and increased economic opportunity make this suburb of Columbia, South Carolina, affordable for families and young professionals.

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

2. Cumberland County, Pennsylvania

Increased housing inventory and employment opportunities are fueling diverse population growth in this greater Harrisburg metro area county; currently, Cumberland County is the fastest-growing county in Pennsylvania.

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

1. Clayton County, Georgia

This suburban area of Atlanta boasts low costs of living and a small-town vibe while still having many of the same amenities as a major city.

Image Credit: MoneyGeek.com.

Why housing is affordable in some growing areas but not others

In recent years, finding affordable real estate has become nearly impossible in many U.S. communities. The reasons for this shift in the housing market are complex. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated labor shortages and supply chain delays, which led to slower residential home construction. As a result, home prices skyrocketed, leading to higher mortgage payments and home insurance costs on newly purchased properties. Other factors contributing to high home prices and housing demands include increasing rates of remote work — driving people to move to larger homes — and historically low mortgage rates.

However, there is some good news amidst these challenges: home prices aren’t rising at the same rate everywhere. In many cases, housing affordability is influenced by an area’s cost of livingTertiary markets hold a great deal of promise in that they may be growing in population and opportunity while still having relatively low costs of living. Tertiary markets usually have a population of less than 1 million and aren’t as well known as secondary and primary markets. These places can be hidden gems in a trying housing market like what homebuyers are facing in 2022.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.com.

Methodology

MoneyGeek analyzed historical home prices, fair market rents and median mortgage payments from the National Association of Realtors, local property tax rates from SmartAsset and population growth and median earnings from the U.S. Census by county to find counties in the U.S. that are growing but still have affordable housing.

Counties identified as recently unaffordable in the list above met the following criteria:

  • Populations larger than 250,000
  • Population growth greater than the average population growth in the country
  • A 2019 ratio of income-to-mortgage expenses that was less than 60%
  • House price appreciation since 2019 that was greater than 25%
  • Monthly homeownership costs less than 50% of the median income in the county

To order the list of places, we combined the following factors into a score:

  • Price appreciation since 2019: double weight
  • Homeownership costs as % of median income

This article originally appeared on MoneyGeek.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: Depositphotos.

More from MediaFeed:

6 simple ways to reduce your mortgage payment

Image Credit: Chainarong Prasertthai // istockphoto.

AlertMe