Helena, Calera among most affordable places to live

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

SmartAsset.com recently released data identifying the most affordable housing markets in the country broken down by each state, and two Shelby County cities made the list.

Helena and Calera made the top 10 list of Alabama cities featured as being the most affordable housing markets in the state.

The data was based on the average closing costs, annual property tax, annual homeowner’s insurance, average annual mortgage payment and median income.

SmartAsset found the total cost over five years of four expenses—closing costs, taxes, insurance and mortgage payments—for the average home in every county in the nation, and for every city with a population greater than 5,000. The site then took that five-year cost as a proportion of median household income in each county and city to determine affordability according to SmartAsset’s website.

Helena finished highest on the list coming in at No. 4 while Calera finished No. 6 for Shelby County.

Helena’s average closing costs came in at $2,792 with an annual property tax of $906, according to the study.

Calera’s average closing costs came in at $2,537 with an annual property tax of $779.

The average annual mortgage payment for the two Shelby County cities were as follows: Helena’s came in at $8,642 while Calera’s was $6,561.

The median income for Helena was highest on the list at $84,615, while Calera’s was listed as $62,893.

Attalla finished as the No. 1 most affordable place to live in Alabama.

You can view the study, interactive map and full list of cities at the following link: Smartasset.com/mortgage/how-much-house-can-i-afford#alabama/affordability