Fourth-most-affordable U.S. city: Phoenix, Ariz.

By the time you get to Phoenix, you can probably afford to buy a house there.

That's because prices have tumbled so much in the metro area's once-booming market that a median-priced home there costs just $148,400 -- well below the U.S. average.

"Phoenix is kind of a poster child for those markets that have seen very big drops in home prices," Sante says. "Housing that wasn't all that affordable prior to the bubble's burst has become very affordable there now."

Arizona's capital city also boasts below-average median property taxes ($1,437) and homeowners insurance ($642).

Couple that with a decent $50,058 median income (just $444 below the 25-city average) and the "Valley of the Sun" offers home buyers great affordability. found that Phoenix families who make the local median household income earn 23.7% more than they need to get a mortgage on a median-priced home.

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