Where to Buy a Home for Less Than $800 a Month

The real estate crash has created some outstanding opportunities for property shoppers.

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In Pictures: Where to Buy a Home for Less Than $800 a Month

By SHARE

3. Albuquerque, N.M.: A vibrant blend of Native American, Latino, and Anglo cultures makes Albuquerque one of the nation's most diverse communities. Residents can explore this unique heritage through the city's expansive menu of museums, art galleries, and theaters. Its enviable climate—which averages more than 300 days of sunshine a year—provides plenty of opportunities for golfing, biking, and hiking. During the winter months, skiers and snowboarders can hit the nearby Sandia Peak Ski Area during the winter months. The median home price in Albuquerque was $178,000 in the second quarter of this year, down about 2 percent from a year earlier. After a 20 percent down payment—or $35,600—monthly payments to cover mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced Albuquerque home are roughly $706.

4. Minneapolis/St. Paul: If you can stand the tough winters, the Minneapolis/St. Paul area is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts call home. The Twin Cities, as they are known, have more than 330 parks, and the Minneapolis metro area alone has more than 20 lakes. Golfers, meanwhile, can pick from more than 170 nearby courses. The median home price in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area was $176,000 in the second quarter of 2010, a decline of roughly 4 percent from the same period in 2009. Buyers that make a 20 percent down payment, which totals $35,200, will have monthly payments of about $698 for mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced home in the area.

5. Columbus, Ohio: With a population of 733,000, Columbus is the home of Ohio State University and the state capital. This friendly Midwestern community serves as the headquarters of 14 different Fortune 1000 companies. And while Columbus rattles with enthusiasm during Ohio State's football season, the Buckeyes aren't the only game in town. In addition to an NHL franchise and a minor league baseball team, the area has more than 100 art galleries, 20 theater companies, and 18 museums. The median home price in Columbus was nearly $150,000 in the second quarter of this year, a 10 percent increase from the same period a year earlier. After a 20 percent down payment—of $30,000—monthly payments for mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced Columbus home come to $595.

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6. Phoenix, Ariz.: After appreciating substantially during the real estate boom, the median home price in the Phoenix area has dropped nearly 44 percent since 2007. Despite the recent turmoil, the area's sunny climate and abundance of outdoor activities continue to offer a wonderful quality of life for retirees or growing families. The median home price in the Phoenix area was nearly $145,000 in the second quarter of this year. After putting 20 percent—or $29,000—down, monthly payments for mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced home in the Phoenix area total about $575.

7. Columbia, S.C.: Located in the heart of South Carolina is the historic city of Columbia, the state capital. With a hot, sunny climate, the area's more than 700,000 residents can enjoy an afternoon at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, take their boat out on Lake Murray, or stroll through the art galleries and coffee shops in the city's entertainment districts. The median home price in Columbia was $142,000 in the second quarter of this year, up about 3 percent from the same period in 2009. Buyers that make a 20 percent down payment, which totals $28,400, will have monthly payments of about $564 for mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced home in Columbia.

8. Boise, Idaho: Boise's sunny, high-desert climate is great for checking out the 2,700 acres of parks in and around this Idaho state capital. And as the home of the Boise State University Broncos, football fans will have all the excitement they can handle on Saturdays in the fall. The median home price in the Boise area was $140,000 in the second quarter of this year, a decline of roughly 13 percent from a year earlier. After a 20 percent down payment—of $28,000—monthly payments for mortgage principal and interest on a median-priced home in Boise total about $556.