Another Top-10 List (11 Actually) — Most Affordable Suburbs in Major U.S. Metros — 2019

Affordability is the big issue in housing today.  From 2010 to 2017, median household income rose from $49,445 to $61,372, up 24.1 percent.  Median home prices, however,  jumped from $172,400 to $259,600, a gain of 50.6 percent.  Home values in this eight-year interval  rose at more than double the rate of income, literally pricing many people out of homeownership.

While not everyone wants to live in the most expensive locales, some people simply cannot do so even if they wished based on housing costs alone   There are, however, more affordable suburbs in most U.S. markets that still allow many households affordability despite overall metro housing prices.

To identify more affordable locales for some of America’s expensive major cities, sought out suburbs that combined reasonable commutes from the major city center that also had low crime.  While many of these suburbs lack many of the amenities of the nearby city, they offer working class people an opportunity to participate in the American dream of homeownership. looked at the major metro markets and excluded all suburbs with violent crimes scored greater than 50 on an index of 100 from Sperling’s Best Places.  Also cut were locales with rush hour commutes to the city center of more than one hour.   Cities were then ranked by median list prices from April 2018 to March 2019.  The top-11 are listed in the table.  Also included in the table are job growth rates for the primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for the 12-months ending March 2019.  Five of the 11 had job growth rates better than the 1.71 percent U.S. posted increase and six of the 11 were less.

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While these suburbs may not necessarily be everyone’s first choice, the comparative affordability cannot be overlooked.  The median list price in San Francisco is  $1.299 million according to Zillow, making the East Richmond Heights ZIP Code less than one-half the cost at $610,100.  The same is true for Houston, with an average list price of $299,000 compared to $119,300 in Galena Park.

Perhaps the saying, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” should be restated to “Beauty is in the eyes of the owner,” at least when it comes to housing.


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