The real estate market has shown encouraging signs for buyers in recent months. Mortgage applications are down, homes are spending more time on the market, and sellers are more inclined to lower prices. But affordability remains a major challenge, especially for first-time homebuyers. The affordability crunch now means that many expensive locations have more inventory available because buyers have been priced out of their markets. In contrast, low-cost locations have fewer homes for sale. Researchers calculated the number of active listings per 10,000 existing homes among locations with a cost of living below the national average, then ranked metros and states accordingly.

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