10 Small Cities That Are Big On Affordability

Written by Posted On Thursday, 13 March 2014 16:32

When it comes to small cities, the adage "less is more" truly applies. Not everyone wants a big bustling city that’s also typically expensive. Many want a quaint place to call home - a small town where less can, indeed, be more when it comes to affordable living.

According to CNN Money, the following are the top 10 most affordable small cities:

1. Kokomo, Indiana
2. Springfield, Ohio
3. Monroe, Michigan
4. Vineland, New Jersey
5. Cumberland, Maryland
6. Davenport, Iowa
7. Lima, Ohio
8. Bay City, Michigan
9. Fairbanks, Alaska
10. Mansfield, Ohio

CNN Money used data from the Housing Opportunity Index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo Bank to determine the percentage of homes sold that are considered affordable. The information is based on median sales price for median income families in each city.

Taking a closer look at each of these towns shows that while they may be small, they still offer residents plenty and at an affordable price. Kokomo, Indiana, tops the list with a population of just over 80,000. The median home price is $85,000 and the median income is $60,100. The percent of homes sold that are considered affordable–a whopping 96.3 percent. This town is mainly an automotive industry employer so it’s influenced by the auto industry and major related employers such as transmission and car electronics manufacturers. There are plenty of well-paying union jobs in Kokomo.

Number two on the list is Springfield, Ohio, with a population of 137,206 and a median home price of $76,000 with the median income at $53,500. The number of homes sold that are affordable is 93.3 percent. It’s a metro area that produces farm equipment, school buses and recreational equipment. The largest local employer: Navistar International. Today, however, the economy is transitioning to a warehousing and tech center, according to city officials.

Monroe, Michigan. has a population of 151,048 with a median home price of $120,00 and the median income at $63,700; 93.2 percent of homes sold are affordable. It’s located midway between Detroit and Toledo and has a strong auto supply industry. However, the area is still recovering from the recession and the auto industry jobs losses. Population growth looks flat or very small in the decades to come.

Vineland, New Jersey, has nearly 160,000 residents with median homes priced at $131,000 and median income of $68,600; 93.2 percent of homes sold are affordable. It was a glass bottle manufacturing area that has since declined but some local plants still produce scientific glass products such as test tubes and beakers. The economy is struggling and the unemployment rate was at 10.5 percent in December (higher than the national rate).

Cumberland, Maryland, is number five on the list and also had a significant glass manufacturing industry. Today, however, it is one of the poorest metro areas in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The population is just over 100,000, the median home price is $89,000, the median income is $53,300, and 92.9 percent of the homes sold are affordable.

The population shoots way up when you travel to Davenport, Iowa. There are 382,630 residents with a median home price of $94,000, median income $63,100, and 92.5 percent of homes sold are affordable. This city has a strong corn-growing industry.

In Lima, Ohio, the population drops to about 105,000 with median home price at $85,000, median income at $54,200 and 92.5 percent of homes sold are affordable. It was at one time popular for being a rail transportation hub and center for steam locomotive manufacturing. Today, there’s still an Army Tank Plant but things are changing as the army needs fewer tanks.

Bay City, Michigan, has a population of 106,935 with the median home price at $75,000, the median income at $56,100, and 92.1 percent of home sold are affordable. The population, however, is shrinking. From 2000 to 2010 the population dropped 2.2 percent and another 0.8 percent in the following two years. There is plenty of housing.

Fairbanks, Alaska, has a population of just over 100,000 with median home price of $205,000, median income of $78,400 and 92 percent of homes sold are affordable. It’s expensive to build homes in this city, especially due to goods having to be trucked in from outside of Alaska. However, the pay is higher in this metropolis–about 21 percent more than the typical American household.

Number 10 is Mansfield, Ohio, with a population of 122,673, median home price $91,000, median income $54,600, and 91 percent of homes sold are affordable. The economy is based on the manufacturing of stoves, steel and other industrial products. But when factories closed, the town lost a lot of its residents. There’s been about a 5 percent decline in the population since 2000.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website: www.LiveFitMagazine.com.

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or phoebe@livefitmagazine.com. Visit PhoebeChongchua.com for more information.


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