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Buffalo is No. 3, not No. 1, on Forbes list of affordable cities

The Buffalo Niagara region remains one of the most affordable places in the country to live, in the eyes of Forbes magazine, just maybe not as affordable as it was a year ago.

Forbes has ranked Buffalo No. 3 on the list of most affordable cities in the country, after the magazine ranked the area No. 1 last year.

Top-ranked Birmingham, Ala., and second-place Knoxville, Tenn., surpassed Buffalo in 2015, according to Forbes.

The rankings of the 100 largest metro areas in the country are based on income, housing affordability and the cost of utilities, groceries and other everyday expenses. Many of the most affordable cities are located in the South and Midwest.

The Buffalo area’s supply of affordable housing kept it near the top of the Forbes rankings.

Forbes put this region’s median family income – meaning half earned more and half earned less – at $63,900, equal to the national average and up $400 from the previous year.

The median home sale price in the last three months of 2014 was $118,000, up $18,000 from the same period one year earlier but well below the national average of $215,000, according to the Housing Opportunity Index from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo.

That means 81.8 percent of homes for sale in the Buffalo area are considered affordable for families earning the median income here, well above the national figure of 62.8 percent but below the 88.5 percent from one year earlier.

Also, Forbes estimates that area residents, compared to the national average, pay 7.1 percent less for groceries, 7.1 percent more for utilities, 2.4 percent more for transportation and 11.8 percent less for health care.