5 Housing Markets That Are No Longer Scary

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Happy Halloween! Coming out of the great recession, fear caused by the housing market was still a very real thing, and there is still a lot of hesitation from many about the health of the industry -- but there are five places where housing fear should turn to relief.

Every quarter the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo release the Housing Opportunity Index, which seeks to measure the number of homes that were sold in a city that would be considered affordable based on a number of factors (home price, median income, taxes, etc.).

Surprisingly, this number can undergo a lot of variation from year to year, and even quarter to quarter. As of the most recent quarter this index stood at 69.3%, as shown in the chart below:

Source: National Association of Home Builders

While affordability has trended down in recent quarters from the peak seen in the first quarter of 2012, Rose Quint, Assistant VP of Survey Research at the NAHB said that this shouldn't cause fear in the eyes of the public as "it is still a historically high number -- what happened was in increase in the median price nationwide," which rose from an average of $184,000 to $202,000.

In fact, rising prices could actually be a good thing; although affordability dipped, rising prices likely spurred on the economy.

As you can see in the chart above, over the last seven years, affordability has jumped from 40.4% to 69.3% -- and there are many markets that are well above the valleys seen in their own charts, and have moved past the lack of affordability that once plagued them.

The Motley Fool takes a look at five major housing markets that were once scary over the last 10 years, but aren't so much anymore.

Beyond housing
While knowing whether or not you live in affordable area is important, it is equally important to know what to do with your savings. Yet millions of Americans have waited on the sidelines since the market meltdown in 2008 and 2009, too scared to invest and put their money at further risk. However those who've stayed out of the market have missed out on huge gains and put their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you why investing is so important and what you need to do to get started. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

The article 5 Housing Markets That Are No Longer Scary originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Patrick Morris has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool owns shares of Wells Fargo. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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