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MN Homes More Affordable
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Minnesota may have harsh winters and mean misquitos. However, when it comes to getting more home out of your dollars, places like California don't even come close. Also the MN MLS market hasn't seen as big of a shift in price as other markets. Due to the mortgage crisis and high unemployment rate, we are seeing a slowdown here in Minnesota, particularly in Minneapolis St Paul and the Twin Cities subburb. But compared to the whole real estate market picture, the Minnesota real estate market has been rather stable. No big swings in prices have been seen so far.

Eight out of the top 10 most expensive housing markets in the U.S. are in California, while eight Midwestern cities are among the 10 most affordable markets, according to the Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index released Tuesday.

The study compared the average value of 2,200-square-foot houses with four bedrooms, two and a half baths, a family room and a two-car garage across 315 U.S. markets.

The results underscore the vast disparity in how much homeowners in different markets pay essentially for the same amount of living space.

The sharpest contrast was found between La Jolla, Calif., and Sioux City, Iowa the most expensive and most affordable cities, respectively, tracked in the study.

In La Jolla, an upscale seaside suburb of San Diego, the average price of homes tracked by the study was about $1.8 million. In contrast, the average price of a similarly-sized home in Sioux City was $133,459 about 13 times more expensive.

Fewer buyers and rising mortgage defaults have left many markets saddled with a large supply of foreclosed properties and other heavily discounted unsold homes, fueling home price declines.

The price drops have been most severe in California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida states that saw a rapid surge in prices during the housing boom, but have since borne the brunt of the foreclosure crisis.

Home values in the Midwest, meanwhile, have also taken a beating, in large part because of rising unemployment in states like Ohio and Michigan.

Even though home price declines have been steeper in California than in the Midwest, the difference in the price of similar-sized homes in coastal markets versus heartland cities remains vast.

About half of the U.S. housing markets surveyed had an average home price less than $300,000. In all, 13 U.S. markets in the study had an average home price of at least $1 million.

Among U.S. markets, Greenwich, Conn., and Beverly Hills, Calif., were ranked the second and third most-expensive markets, respectively, with average home prices just under $1.8 million.

The other California markets that rounded out the top 10 by price are Palo Alto, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Francisco and San Mateo.

Boston was ranked ninth at an average home price of $1.5 million.

After Sioux City, the most affordable domestic markets were Jackson, Mich., with an average home price of $134,325, and Akron, Ohio, at $135,780.

Canton, Ohio, Grayling, Mich., Minot, N.D., Arlington, Texas, Muncie, Ind., Killeen, Texas, and Eau Claire, Wis., rounded out the bottom 10 most affordable markets.

By ALEX VEIGA , Associated Press, September 9, 2008

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