Nestled along I-59, not quite an hour outside of Birmingham, Attalla, Ala., has been ranked the most affordable place in the state to own a home for the second year in a row, according to a recent analysis from the national financial technology firm, SmartAsset.
But there’s a lot more to home affordability than the listing price. Which is why SmartAsset took a holistic approach: considering closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage rates in their analysis.
Specifically, they looked at the total cost over five years of these four expenses — closing costs, taxes, insurance and mortgage payments — for the average home in every county and every city with a population greater than 5,000. They then took that five-year cost as a proportion of median household income in each county and city to determine affordability.
The most affordable cities and counties were those in which total housing costs on an average house accounted for the smallest proportion of the median income.