Cheaper housing may cost more in long run

commute costs for housing
commute costs for housing

The house hunting adage that home prices drop $1,000 or more for every mile you drive out of a city is being turned on its head by a new survey that factors in transportation costs, "Pennywise, Pound Fuelish." Compact urban places like San Francisco and New York City magically become more affordable in the Center for Neighborhood Technology index, while deals in neighborhoods around Akron, Ohio and Greeley, Colo. suddenly seem less attractive.

The premise is simple: Housing is generally considered affordable if it costs 30% of income, which adds 111,000 neighborhoods to the affordable list. Including the cost of gas, automobile upkeep and insurance for commuting, shopping and "just getting around" pares that list back to 48,000 neighborhoods.