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Published: Friday, 7/17/2009

2 cities in region lead nation in affordability

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

FINDLAY - Two small cities in northwest Ohio are among the leaders on Money magazine's list of most affordable places to live in the United States, while a Lenawee County city captured a spot on the publication's larger list of best places to live.

The list put Findlay as the eighth most affordable locale in the nation, and named Norwalk the 21st most affordable community. Meanwhile, the magazine this month named Tecumseh, Mich., among its top 100 best places to live, ranking it 93rd. Tecumseh was the only community in the region to make the list, which focused on smaller cities.

To reach its conclusions, the magazine compared the median incomes in the cities to a number of financial and other factors, including: housing costs, job growth, crime statistics, educational achievement, average age, and even weather.

The survey put the median home price in Findlay at an even $100,000, and the median family income at $62,824 per year. Norwalk's median home price was listed at $95,500, and its median family income at $56,312.

Duncanville, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, was named the most affordable town in the United Staes, with a median home price of $99,648, and a median family income of $72,243.

"It's a nice honor bestowed on our community," said William Homka, director of the Hancock Regional Planning Commission of Findlay's honor.

Though both Findlay and Norwalk made the list, the two county seats are fighting different problems during the recession. Norwalk, in Huron County, has been among Ohio's hardest-hit communities during the recession, with a 15.4 percent jobless rate in May, the third highest in northwest Ohio. Meanwhile, Hancock County's 10.2 percent jobless rate was the lowest in northwest Ohio in May, but the city continues to suffer the ravages of flooding along the Blanchard River.

Just two months ago, the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo & Co. released their own study of affordability in the nation's metropolitan areas, and found that Sandusky was the easiest place in the nation to swing a home purchase during the first quarter of this year.

The study of larger cities and their suburbs that compared median home prices to median family income placed Monroe, Mich., second in the nation in housing affordability.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.



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