When people talk about the cost of housing, often the only thing people talk about is the actual cost of the home they intend to buy. And often, one thing that many people note when they buy a home in one of the distant suburbs is that they can "get more home for the money" in a distant suburb vs living closer in.
What people don't usually count in the cost of owning a home is the higher transportation costs that are incurred when people live further away from jobs and entertainment options.
So with that, the folks at the Center for Neighborhood Technology have put together maps that compare the housing prices of different areas in the city -- and then comparing the costs of the different areas of the city if you factored in both housing AND the cost of transportation.
So in the first posted map, the yellow areas in the city are the areas of the city where housing costs less than 30% of the total average income for the city -- and the green represents areas where housing expenses are more than 30% of the average income.
The second map then shows the relative pricing when transportation is figured in. So the yellow areas are areas where housing/transportation costs combine to be less than 45% of the total income and the green areas are areas where the cost of housing and transportation are greater than 45% of the average area income.
(You can click on either map and it will take you to a larger version).
While the first map shows that there are affordable homes available in the distant suburbs, they become less of a bargain when transportation costs are included. This leaves the primary core of the metro to be the most "affordable" area of the city (along with the areas right around major arteries).
The good news is that KCMO has both affordable housing AND low transportation costs -- which would make it more attractive to a lot of potential home howners. If the city can somehow overcome some of the other hurdles that make KCMO LESS livable (crime, bad schools) it has a huge opportunity to stunt urban sprawl and attract people to more urban (and affrodable) living.