Forbes Names Cincinnati, Dayton to Ranks of Affordable Cities

Southwest Ohio is one of the most affordable places in the United States. At least that’s what Forbes thinks. The business magazine has recently released a list of the most affordable cities in the country. Cincinnati and Dayton are both in the top 10.

 Southwest Ohio is one of the most affordable places in the United States. So says Forbes, which has named both Cincinnati and Dayton to its annual roster of the most affordable cities in the country.

To make its selections, Forbes took a look at the 100 largest metro areas and metropolitan divisions in the country, all with populations of 600,000 or more.

To assess housing affordability, the magazine used the latest Housing Opportunity Index–a quarterly report from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. The study weighs median prices for homes sold against median income levels to determine the percentage of homes that are affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $63,900.

Forbes also factored in an index developed by Sperling’s Best Places that measures the cost of food, utilities, gas, transportation, healthcare and other daily expenses.

Forbes concluded that Birmingham, Ala., is the most affordable city in the nation. Knoxville, Tenn., came in second, followed by Buffalo, N.Y., and Oklahoma City in third and fourth place, respectively. Cincinnati rounds out the top 5.

The median home sale price in the region was $133,000 in the fourth quarter of 2014. That means that 83.9 percent of housing was affordable to families earning the area’s median family income of $68,500.

Also, groceries in Cincinnati cost about 4.6 percent less than the national average, utilities 5.9 percent less, and health care 0.3 percent less. Miscellaneous everyday expenses run about 7.2 percent below the national average.

Dayton, which came in eighth, registered a median home sale price of $104,000 at the end of 2014. As a result, 86.2 percent of housing was affordable to families earning the area’s median family income of $60,200. Groceries cost 6.4 percent less than the national average, utilities 7.6 percent less and health care 11.8 percent less.

Also making Forbes’ were Columbus, which tied Detroit at number 10, and Akron, which occupied fifteenth place.