Money: Most affordable homes in Cobb, Gwinnett towns

Two metro Atlanta towns, one in Cobb and the other in Gwinnett, have bragging rights when it comes to residents’ getting the biggest bang for their bucks in buying a home.

Money magazine ranks Powder Springs in Cobb and Lilburn in Gwinnett as No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, among the top 25 towns and cities for home affordability.

After years of tanking, home prices in metro Atlanta and Georgia continue to rise, partly because of the tight supply of homes for sale and because foreclosures are also declining, putting additional pressure on available supply. Bargains, however, can be found in at least two metro areas, according to Money.

The home affordability list is part of Money’s annual Best Places to Live report, which also considers top-earning towns, best big city neighborhoods and best places for the rich and single. Three Georgia towns appear among the 50 Best Cities: Suwanee (33) in Gwinnett, Evans (43) in Columbia County and Peachtree City (48) in Fayette County.

Money said Powder Springs in west Cobb has "a charming downtown" and pleasant quality of life. The median price of a home in Powder Springs, in west Cobb, is $85,000 while the median income is $68,168. In addition to reasonably-priced homes - the magazine gives the example of a three-bedroom home selling for $75,000 or less – a "big draw" in Powder Springs is McEachern High School.

The median price of a Lilburn home $84,478 and the median family income is $64,762. Money cites Lilburn's growing south Asian community as an example of its growth. It said Lilburn's Hindu temple, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, attracts a quarter million visitors a year. Lilburn also has "a fine school system, safe streets and proximity to Atlanta."

Money focused on areas that had more than 100 home sales in 2012 and that also experienced job and population growth. The sales data came from county assessors’ offices, the magazine said.

No. 1 on the list of where the most affordable homes can be found is Altamonte Springs, Fla., where the median price of a home is $67,000 and median family income was $63,642. The No. 2 and No. 3 cities were Plano and Homewood, Ill., respectively. The median price of a home is $75,000 and median family income is $65,658 in Plano. In Homewood, the median price is $100,000 and the median income is $86,683.