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Florida's most affordable cities for housing? Here they are.

Naples was ranked the least affordable housing market in Florida. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times (2017)
Naples was ranked the least affordable housing market in Florida. EVE EDELHEIT | Times (2017)
Published Jun. 12, 2018

If you choose carefully, the greater Tampa Bay area has some of the state's most affordable places to own a home.

In fact, six of the top 10 locales are within about 50 miles of downtown Tampa.

Fort Meade, tucked in the southwestern part of Polk County, regained its No. 1 spot, after placing third a year earlier, according to an analysis from SmartAsset, a financial technology company.

Brooksville came in third, Beacon Square (near Elfers in Pasco County) ranked fifth, followed by Bayshore Gardens across the Sunshine Skyway in Manatee County. Combee Settlement and Crystal Lake, both near Lakeland, came in seventh and ninth respectively.

Rounding out the top 10 were West Vero Corridor (2), Lakewood Park (4), West Pensacola (8) and North Fort Myers (10).

Related:Construction in Tampa Bay is booming, right? Actually it's a bit of a laggard.

SmartAsset's number crunchers looked at average annual mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance, and average closing costs over a five-year period in 6,136 American cities with at least 5,000 people. That included 450 locations in Florida. They then compared those costs to the median household income in each location to determine the affordability.

Fort Meade, which ranked 25th in the country, made up for its so-so median income ($43,179) with low insurance costs and property taxes and the state's 18th-lowest annual mortgage payment.

Brooksville, perennially in SmartAsset's top 10 in Florida, had the state's lowest annual mortgage payment combined with the lowest insurance costs.

Related:You're likely not living in the Florida County with the lowest taxes

As for the area's three biggest cities, St. Petersburg (192) was the most affordable thanks largely to a slightly higher median income (see chart below) and lower closing costs. Clearwater ranked 297th. Tampa was 305th.

Naples, despite a robust $84,830 in median income, was last in the state and 6,105th in the country. It was brought down by high mortgage, insurance and closing costs. Other South Florida cities dominated the bottom end of the rankings, including Miami Beach and Key Biscayne.

Nationally, Texas had the top two most affordable places, Pecos and Kermit, small towns about 50 miles apart in the western part of the state. Texas had a total of nine cities ranked in the top 25. Pennsylvania and Indiana had three each. Georgia and Arizona had two.

More business:We aren't ready to retire

Kaser, N.Y., part of the town of Ramapo, was the least-affordable place in the country, scoring a zero. It earned the honor based largely on an exceptionally low median household income ($18,538) and relatively high average mortgage payments, insurance costs and property taxes.

Stanford, Calif., was only slightly better scoring a 1.2. Rounding out the country's bottom five: New Square, N.Y., Isla Vista, Calif., and Boone, N.C., which had the lowest median household income ($14,725) of any of the places in the survey.

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See how SmartAsset ranked the Florida cities here.

Contact Graham Brink at gbrink@tampabay.com. Follow @GrahamBrink.

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