Best U.S. Cities to Buy a Home

by 17 Feb 2013

Cities like New York, London and Paris are notorious for their high real-estate prices. Unless you're a high roller -- or you get exceptionally lucky -- you probably won't be able to buy real estate in these markets. There are plenty of markets where you can buy real estate in your budget, but what are the markets where you can get the most house for your money?

Just like some cities are distinguished for their high real estate prices, there are cities that are distinguished for having the best prices, either for their low cost per square footage or for their low overall cost when compared to the local cost-of-living. Here are some of the best U.S. cities to buy a home (according to data from the National Association of Home Builders):

Buffalo, NY

If you can't afford the a skyline view in the Big Apple, you can move upstate and find some good deals in Buffalo, where you'll be close to other great attractions, such as Niagara Falls. The median home price in the city is $94,000, while the median income is $66,100. The local population has decreased, sending home prices down and providing good opportunities for those looking to buy.

Modesto, CA

High foreclosures and falling home prices have not been welcome news for owners in Modesto, but they offer good opportunities for those who are looking to buy now. The median home price in the city is only $127,000, while the median income is $62,000. If you're looking to buy and sell quickly, you may have to wait until the market settles. However, if you want to buy to settle down for awhile, Modesto might be a great choice for you.

Akron, Ohio

Here's another city that saw housing prices drop after the local economy took a beating. The city has relied on auto industry jobs, which are now in short supply. The median home price is now $96,000, while the median income is $66,500. Families who are looking for an affordable place to settle down may find that Akron offers a lot of opportunities (if you can find the work).

Grand Rapids, Mich.

A pattern is emerging: In cities that were hardest hit by the economy, home prices are not at bargain levels. In Grand Rapids, the median home price is now $100,000 while the median income is $60,300. The economy is said to be on the upswing as more healthcare jobs are becoming available.

Lakeland, FL

Get a sunny home away from home or relocate to the Sunshine State on a budget. Median home prices in this city located between Orlando and Tampa are only $85,000, while the median income is $54,500. The job market is said to be improving in the area, which may mean an increase in the housing market not long after.

What makes a city a "best" option for buying a home will depend on a lot of factors, including what your purpose for buying is, how much you have to spend, and your income. However, these cities are deemed by many to be among the best buys because of the ratio of home costs to average incomes.

Carmen Guzlas is a writer and manager for, where she has recently been researching San Jose, CA real estate. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys gardening and making homemade soap.



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