Say what you want about Birmingham – but it’s cheap.
Forbes ranked the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country and Birmingham topped the list.
Now, this ranking considered the entire metropolitan statistical area. For Birmingham, that’s seven counties: Jefferson, Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker. It’s much cheaper to live in Jasper than Homewood.
Some metropolitan areas in the top 100 have a lot less rural areas in their MSA. Take Los Angeles for example – yes, housing and gas cost a lot more there. But its entire MSA is also only two counties, and the population is a lot more dense.
The assessment considered housing affordability using the Housing Opportunity Index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo, which weighs median selling prices on homes that are affordable to those making the median income.
It also weighed a cost of living index that considered the cost of food, utilities, gas, transportation and other daily expenses.
Birmingham’s median income of $61,000 is below the national average, but prices for just about everything are lower here. According to the Forbes article: about 81.5 percent of homes are affordable to those who make the median pay; groceries cost 5.4 percent less here than the national average; transportation 13.2 percent; and healthcare, 16.6 percent below the national average.
Birmingham may lack New York’s 24-hour accessibility or the dining choices of Atlanta – but darn it, buying a home is a lot easier here.