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Real Estate Guide 2007
Analysis by region
National statistics are meaningful, but in real estate "location, location, location" means local trends trump all.
Analysis by region
Midwest: Affordable homes but few jobs
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In spite of recent losses, the region may be turning a corner, says Yun. "There are signs that the job market may be coming around in the Midwest due to strong exports," he says.

By median home price, some of the most affordable areas (according to recent NAR numbers) include:

  • Youngstown/Warren/Boardman, (Ohio, Penn.) -- $80,000
  • Decatur, Ill. -- $89,200
  • South Bend/Mishawaka, Ind. -- $89,800
  • Springfield, Ill. -- $94,900

And some of the most expensive Midwest areas include:

  • Chicago/Naperville/Joliet, Ill. -- $268,100
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington, Minn./Wisc. --  $228,300
  • Madison, Wisc. -- $225,400
  • Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis, Wisc. -- $210,900

Another small factor in their favor: Midwesterners (along with Northeasterners) pay the lowest mortgage interest rates in the country. The average is 6.39 percent, according to the most recent NAR data. The South has the highest rates, with 6.51 percent.

Midwesterners also devote the smallest share of their incomes to their homes. The average monthly mortgage payment is just 16.5 percent of the total household income. The median income in the area is $59,329, according the NAR.

So where are prices going in 2007 in the Midwest? Overall, for the region, they will probably stay pretty much where they were at the end of 2006. "That all depends on jobs, says Yun.

But his prediction is that prices will remain roughly where they are now. Says Yun, "I think it will be a neutral year."

Related story: See what $400,000 will buy across the country.

-- Posted: March 8, 2007
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