Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have relaxed their short sale requirements to offer more protection for service members and their families. Under the terms of the new guidelines, military homeowners who have orders to move do not have to be delinquent on their mortgage in order to qualify for a short sale.
These amazing rates paired with the abundance of bargain-priced homes across the country are just two of the many reasons that the American dream of home ownership is a very feasible aspiration for 2012.
While home prices are low in many regions throughout the U.S., 25 growing towns pair those bargain home prices with high median family incomes to help stretch hard-earned money even further.
Here are the top five areas where homes are most affordable according to CNN Money:
Median family income: $72,742
Median home price: $98,214
As the most profitable company in American history (ExxonMobil) plans to open its global headquarters in this area in 2014, it’s easy to understand why economists predict this Houston suburb will continue to prosper in the future.
With starter homes in good condition selling for under $75,000 and the median family income for Spring (TX) around $72,742, many residents can afford to spend more time at the Texas Crawfish Festival and less time worrying about how to make ends meet.
North Port, Florida
Median family income: $58,180
Median home price: $86,000
With property taxes in North Port approximately 15% lower than the state average, it’s no surprise many North Port residents can afford to frequently enjoy local activities such as horseback riding, biking and hiking.
While the median family income in North Port is only $58,180, the low cost of living allows 91.2% of the 57,357 working residents to live above the poverty line.
Missouri City, Texas
Median family income: $89,242
Median home price: $145,690
The fact that the students in the Missouri City school district speak a combined 56 languages may be an indirect reason the city has the highest median family income on this list, $89,242.
While it’s obvious Missouri City holds academics in high regard, it does not take a rocket scientist to understand why the beautiful three-bedroom homes that sell for less than $100,000 are considered a bargain to many house hunters in the area.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Median family income: $67,778
Median home price: $113,000
Similar to the way Chicago was rebuilt better than ever after the infamous Great Chicago Fire in 1871, Cedar Rapids has been rebuilt from their devastating flood of 2008 where more than 80,000 tons of debris had to be collected and removed to landfills.
After the downtown area was rebuilt and businesses began to reopen, new home construction also began.
While the new home prices are not comparable to other bargain homes around the country, Cedar Rapids offers down payment assistance to homebuyers that purchase property in the redeveloped flood zone area.
Median family income: $73,998
Median home price: $124,000
Residents of Bellevue enjoy a surplus of watersport activities as the town sits on a 2,000-acre preserve of wetlands.
These residents also enjoy steady employment for the most part as the 4.4% unemployment rate ranks the lowest on the list.
Wide-open spaces in Bellevue provide builders with many options for lots. This helps keep home prices low.
While the top five places to find affordable homes in the U.S. provide a glimpse into the housing market of various regions in America, the full list illustrates a more complete picture.
To view the entire list of 25 places where homes are most affordable, head over to CNN Money.