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It's SLO expensive! 

The Central Coast may be a gorgeous place to live, but residents of San Luis Obispo County pay dearly to bask in its beauty.

For the fifth consecutive quarter, the county has been named the third least affordable place to live in the country—behind only New York City and San Francisco.

The dubious honor was again bestowed upon the county by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index in a study published Aug. 19, which ranked 225 metro markets by comparing median home prices and median incomes.

According to the study, in the second quarter of 2010, SLO County ranked as the least affordable of all metro areas with populations of 500,000 or less, with a median home price of $359,000 and a median income of $72,500. Only 31.6 percent of homes were affordable to county residents during the quarter, the study said.

According to Paul Emrath, NAHB vice president of survey and housing research, median incomes are calculated by household income statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As such, he said, a large student and/or homeless population wouldn’t drag down a region’s median income.

The Santa Ana-Anaheim area, with a median home price of $425,000 and median income of $87,200, trailed SLO County as the fourth least affordable metro market, followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach and Honolulu. Syracuse, N.Y., with a median home price of $88,000 and income of $64,300, was the most affordable, followed by Springfield and Mansfield, Ohio.

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