According to the recently released "Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities" report from Forbes, solid housing markets, relatively stable employment, low cost of living, and short commutes make certain U.S. metros the most affordable in which to live. Ranked first on this list is Omaha-Council Bluffs, Nebraska, followed by Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Arkansas; Jackson, Mississippi; Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa; Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia-South Carolina; Wichita, Kansas; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, in that order.
According to Kermit Baker, senior researcher at Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the 20+ metros on Forbes list are "sleepy little markets that have fallen under the radar screen in terms of turbulence in housing. They didn't go through much or a boom or bust."
In order to come up with its list Forbes looked at the country's 100 largest MSAs across the following measures: foreclosures as a percentage of home prices; vacancies; unemployment rates; three-year job-growth forecast; three-year home-price forecast; housing affordability; median real estate taxes; and median travel time to work.