By Nora Tooher

Low- and moderate-income workers have a better shot at being able to afford a home in the Akron area than in many other parts of the country.

A “Paycheck to Paycheck” study by the Center for Housing Policy, the research affiliate of the National Housing Conference, ranked the homeownership markets for 207 metro areas as well as the change in income needed to purchase a median-priced home.

The results show that Akron ranks 185th among the metros, with a median home price of $98,000 in the first quarter of 2013, up $2,000 from $96,000 the year before, but still a bargain compared with many other parts of the country.
And even though the median house price increased, the qualifying income needed to buy a home – with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 10 percent down payment – decreased 4.1 percent to $26,002 in Akron.

Several other Ohio metro areas also had good home affordability scores. Cleveland tied with Akron for 185th, also with a median home price of $98,000. Dayton was 190th, with a median home price of $95,000. Canton’s median home price of $89,000 placed it 190th and Toledo’s $82,000 median home price placed it 194th.

Youngstown’s median home price was even lower – $78,000 – placing it 202 on the list.

Three Ohio metros were among the five metros with the lowest median house prices in the nation: Springfield, $75,000; Mansfield, $73,000 and Lima, $70,000.

The other two metros in the bottom five were Detroit, $73,000 and South Bend, Ind., $67,600.

The five most expensive median house prices in the country are San Francisco, $675,000; San Jose, Calif., $550,000; Santa Ana, Calif., $497,000; New York, $449,000 and Honolulu, $437,000.

As the housing market improves, prices are rising in some metros that had been hammered by the downturn. The median house price in Las Vegas shot up $36,000 to $151,000. And the median house price in Fort Worth, Texas, “Where the West begins,” climbed $21,000 to $152,000.