Home Loans

LendingTree ranks the 100 best cities for homeownership

Buying a home has a tremendous impact on your life, helping determine everything from where you work to the opportunities that you are afforded. That’s why it’s vital to know which cities are going to provide you with the best options that fit your unique situation.

To help you start your search, we dug into data on housing and employment in the 100 biggest metro areas in the United States. We pulled statistics that best demonstrate factors like quality of life, return on investment and general outlook for each area.

The top-scoring cities have relatively low housing costs, combined with increasing home values. They also provide residents with better job prospects and short commutes.

Key findings

  • Three out of the five best-ranking cities are located in Utah. In order, these are Provo-Orem (2), Salt Lake City (4) and the Ogden-Clearfield metro area (5).
  • The best cities for homeownership have low unemployment rates and moderately priced homes. For cities that ranked the highest for homeownership, unemployment rates tended to be under 3.5%, while median home values ranged from about $200,000 to $250,000. Those values experienced appreciation of about 10% to 25% from 2013 to 2017, during which time housing costs decreased.
  • The bottom-ranking cities have relatively high unemployment and sinking home values. They tend to have unemployment rates of 4% or 5%, and home values didn’t appreciate in those areas by more than 6%, with some even experiencing depreciation from 2013 to 2017.

The 10 best cities for homeownership

1. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., metro area

Median home value: $225,900

Unemployment rate: 3.1%

Median commute time: 24.5 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 23.78%

Annual housing cost increase: – 7.24%

2. Provo-Orem, Utah metro area

Median home value: $255,300

Unemployment rate: 2.9%

Median commute time: 21.4 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 15.05%

Annual housing cost increase: – 0.53%

3. Boise City, Idaho, metro area

Median home value: $197,100

Unemployment rate: 3.4%

Median commute time: 22 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 17.04%

Annual housing cost increase: – 4.69%

4. Salt Lake City, Utah, metro area

Median home value: $254,800

Unemployment rate: 3.1%

Median commute time: 22.4 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 11.46%

Annual housing cost increase: – 0.85%

5. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, metro area

Median home value: $223,500

Unemployment rate: 2.7%

Median commute time: 22.5 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 11.42%

Annual housing cost increase: – 1.13%

6. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., metro area

Median home value: $229,000

Unemployment rate: 3.8%

Median commute time: 26.2 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 29.09%

Annual housing cost increase: – 5.44%

7. Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich., metro area

Median home value: $159,400

Unemployment rate: 3.5%

Median commute time: 21.8 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 11%

Annual housing cost increase: – 5.13%

8. Madison, Wis., metro area

Median home value: $233,300

Unemployment rate: 2.7%

Median commute time: 21.7 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 5.57%

Annual housing cost increase: – 1.30%

9. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., metro area

Median home value: $200,000

Unemployment rate: 3.7%

Median commute time: 27.2 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 27.71%

Annual housing cost increase: – 7.15%

10. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis., metro area

Median home value: $234,900

Unemployment rate: 3.1%

Median commute time: 25.3 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 6.68%

Annual housing cost increase: – 3.05%

The 10 worst cities for homeownership

1. El Paso, Texas, metro area

Median home value: $128,500

Unemployment rate: 4.1%

Median commute time: 23.4 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 4.98%

Annual housing cost increase: 3.99%

2. Augusta-Richmond County, Ga.-S.C., metro area

Median home value: $147,100

Unemployment rate: 5%

Median commute time: 23.7 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 5.60%

Annual housing cost increase: – 0.08%

3. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., metro area

Median home value: $250,500

Unemployment rate: 4.8%

Median commute time: 29.5 minutes

Median home value appreciation: – 0.24%

Annual housing cost increase: – 1.61%

4. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J., metro area

Median home value: $210,500

Unemployment rate: 4.3%

Median commute time: 27.7 minutes

Median home value appreciation: – 3.35%

Annual housing cost increase: – 1.78%

5. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis., metro area

Median home value: $228,300

Unemployment rate: 5%

Median commute time: 31.6 minutes

Median home value appreciation: – 0.65%

Annual housing cost increase: – 4.51%

6. New York-Newark-Jersey City, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa., metro area

Median home value: $416,800

Unemployment rate: 4.4%

Median commute time: 36.3 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 1.39%

Annual housing cost increase: – 0.93%

7. Jackson, Miss., metro area

Median home value: $155,100

Unemployment rate: 4.8%

Median commute time: 24.4 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 6.97%

Annual housing cost increase: – 0.5%

8. Baton Rouge, La., metro area

Median home value: $180,800

Unemployment rate: 4.2%

Median commute time: 26.6 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 7.56%

Annual housing cost increase: 2.32%

9. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn., metro area

Median home value: $426,900

Unemployment rate: 5.2%

Median commute time: 30.4 minutes

Median home value appreciation: – 2.51%

Annual housing cost increase: – 2.61%

10. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas, metro area

Median home value: $106,300

Unemployment rate: 4.7%

Median commute time: 21.9 minutes

Median home value appreciation: 9.7%

Annual housing cost increase: 3.14%

Methodology

For this study, we used data from the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) from the U.S. Census Bureau, using 2017 population data. Each MSA was ranked on a scale from 100 (best) to 1 (worst) for the following metrics:

  • Median home value
  • Unemployment rate
  • Average commute time
  • Median home value appreciation, 2013 to 2017
  • Median change in yearly housing costs, 2013 to 2017

Next, the average (or final) score was calculated for each MSA based on the scores received for each of those five metric categories, with each category receiving equal weight. Finally, MSAs were ranked according to that final score on a scale of 100 (best) to 1 (worst). So the better an MSA’s data was for homeowners, the higher the individual metric scores would be and that, in turn, would translate to a higher final score.