Real Estate

America's Best Bang-For-The-Buck Cities

Forbes

http://www.forbes.com

Solid housing markets, relatively stable employment, enviable cost of living and quick commutes make these metros among the Country's most affordable to live.

 

  Bang- for-the Buck Rank

Metropolitan Statistical Area

Housing Affordability Rank

Travel Time Rank

Real Estate Taxes Rank

Unemployment Rank

Vacancies Rank

Job Forecast Rank

Home Price Forecast Rank

Foreclosures Rank

1

Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Metro Area

21

37

68

1

16

8

19

3

2

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metro Area

40

27

8

4

17

11

29

42

3

Jackson, MS Metro Area

48

6

4

14

14

72

16

9

4

Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metro Area

31

11

60

6

4

9

57

13

5

Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metro Area

24

2

5

56

30

16

42

19

6

Wichita, KS Metro Area

22

7

27

42

7

48

45

6

7

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Metro Area

19

5

18

82

43

1

27

25

8

Chattanooga, TN-GA Metro Area

37

9

12

50

19

41

33

26

9

Colorado Springs, CO Metro Area

64

23

11

18

27

14

11

64

10

Ogden-Clearfield, UT Metro Area

30

14

21

8

2

68

64

35

11

Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, PA Metro Area

26

3

38

46

28

84

23

2

12

Columbia, SC Metro Area

38

34

6

56

39

29

28

24

13

Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Metro Area

25

13

56

23

5

65

62

7

14

Provo-Orem, UT Metro Area

51

1

20

2

1

30

91

66

15

Syracuse, NY Metro Area

18

21

74

31

23

75

20

1

16

Baton Rouge, LA Metro Area

63

40

1

14

33

42

61

11

17

Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY Metro Area

9

49

76

38

53

31

32

5

18

Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metro Area

7

10

34

78

52

23

15

77

19

Tulsa, OK Metro Area

33

39

14

13

45

80

39

41

20

Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC Metro Area

46

20

7

70

35

26

52

57

21

Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area

74

55

35

42

42

10

41

22

22

Pittsburgh, PA Metro Area

17

79

54

24

84

44

6

14

22

Knoxville, TN Metro Area

62

25

10

42

21

69

73

20

24

Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Metro Area

35

58

17

66

58

21

35

34

25

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Metro Area

3

4

23

89

24

90

55

43

26

Oklahoma City, OK Metro Area

28

53

13

4

61

100

60

18

27

Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC Metro Area

82

30

9

61

50

28

4

74

28

Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metro Area

61

56

3

68

65

7

31

52

29

Rochester, NY Metro Area

10

45

88

30

48

98

13

12

30

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metro Area

45

41

85

18

46

62

44

4

30

Greensboro-High Point, NC Metro Area

43

29

16

78

40

59

34

46

32

Toledo, OH Metro Area

4

15

49

78

41

64

25

71

33

El Paso, TX Metro Area

87

24

53

63

8

6

63

51

34

Albuquerque, NM Metro Area

79

38

22

28

37

3

79

70

35

Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metro Area

27

59

26

64

66

43

5

72

36

Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME Metro Area

77

19

71

11

44

91

40

10

37

Akron, OH Metro Area

1

32

57

58

22

83

66

50

38

Springfield, MA Metro Area

56

28

72

60

11

77

21

45

39

San Antonio, TX Metro Area

53

73

61

14

67

2

72

30

40

Indianapolis-Carmel, IN Metro Area

12

67

33

26

70

66

37

62

41

Boise City-Nampa, ID Metro Area

71

12

25

58

6

25

88

90

42

Madison, WI Metro Area

67

22

92

3

10

81

75

29

43

Denver-Aurora, CO Metro Area

78

82

37

14

71

20

17

67

44

St. Louis, MO-IL Metro Area

16

83

46

64

83

24

48

27

45

Austin-Round Rock, TX Metro Area

54

68

89

18

57

4

74

28

45

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI Metro Area

36

85

67

21

69

33

26

55

47

New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA Metro Area

59

54

2

21

62

85

78

33

48

Modesto, CA Metro Area

8

8

50

98

38

86

8

99

49

Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI Metro Area

2

35

52

87

34

67

46

76

50

Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL Metro Area

32

18

15

92

56

17

89

81

51

Columbus, OH Metro Area

20

66

63

32

73

39

54

54

52

Kansas City, MO-KS Metro Area

23

72

47

49

68

27

59

59

52

Dayton, OH Metro Area

11

36

45

73

47

55

69

68

54

Honolulu, HI Metro Area

100

52

28

10

36

97

68

17

55

Salt Lake City, UT Metro Area

88

51

29

6

32

50

84

69

56

Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY Metro Area

55

44

98

32

9

79

86

8

56

Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC Metro Area

81

69

32

82

63

18

22

44

58

Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN Metro Area

72

64

19

54

54

40

80

31

59

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT Metro Area

60

57

95

35

31

96

18

23

59

Stockton, CA Metro Area

58

31

59

99

12

54

7

95

61

Worcester, MA Metro Area

50

46

78

61

15

58

49

61

62

Tucson, AZ Metro Area

80

48

31

38

49

71

87

16

63

Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metro Area

85

65

51

12

59

32

90

32

64

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area

34

96

80

35

92

5

53

37

65

Richmond, VA Metro Area

73

60

40

26

55

51

81

48

66

Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Metro Area

83

47

86

51

13

63

83

15

67

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area

93

86

82

51

75

19

2

36

68

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX Metro Area

44

95

75

40

96

13

43

39

69

Bakersfield, CA Metro Area

66

26

42

93

26

94

10

96

70

Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN Metro Area

14

76

44

53

78

76

56

58

71

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metro Area

89

42

83

77

3

52

24

86

72

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL Metro Area

5

17

58

93

80

15

93

97

73

New Haven-Milford, CT Metro Area

68

43

97

32

18

99

58

53

74

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH Metro Area

6

74

66

35

81

95

47

65

74

Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA Metro Area

92

78

69

75

60

37

9

49

76

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT Metro Area

94

50

100

29

20

88

50

40

77

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area

76

97

87

8

88

34

14

73

78

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area

57

94

83

46

89

61

30

38

78

Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice, FL Metro Area

70

16

55

91

76

12

96

82

78

Fresno, CA Metro Area

86

33

36

96

29

56

70

92

81

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH Metro Area

91

91

91

46

82

57

12

47

82

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metro Area

29

87

24

42

93

73

97

89

83

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA Metro Area

15

93

39

72

95

92

51

78

84

Jacksonville, FL Metro Area

42

61

30

73

74

87

95

80

85

Baltimore-Towson, MD Metro Area

75

84

64

24

79

74

85

60

86

San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA Metro Area

95

81

77

68

77

60

3

88

87

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area

41

80

41

84

90

38

94

83

88

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metro Area

84

62

90

40

51

89

76

63

89

Orlando-Kissimmee, FL Metro Area

52

77

48

81

87

22

100

94

90

San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA Metro Area

99

90

94

70

85

49

1

75

91

Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA Metro Area

47

75

65

85

72

70

67

93

92

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metro Area

97

70

96

85

25

53

71

79

92

Las Vegas-Paradise, NV Metro Area

39

71

43

93

86

46

98

100

94

Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA Metro Area

69

63

81

89

64

82

77

56

95

Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI Metro Area

13

89

73

100

94

93

36

85

96

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area

49

88

62

97

91

35

65

98

97

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI Metro Area

65

98

93

66

98

47

38

84

98

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area

98

100

99

54

100

78

92

21

99

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metro Area

90

92

70

75

99

36

99

91

100

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA Metro Area

96

99

79

87

97

45

82

87

Click here to read the full story.

Methodology

To find the cities that offer the most bang for the buck, we looked at the country's 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas--geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, for use in collecting statistics--across these measures: foreclosures as a percentage of housing units; vacancies; unemployment rates; a three-year job growth forecast; a three-year home price forecast; housing affordability; median real estate taxes; and median travel time to work.

To locate healthy housing markets, we looked at metros where foreclosures had most been flushed out of the market, allowing home values to increase and signaling a potential bottoming out. We also sought areas with low home vacancies, a sign of a stable supply of inventory. We examined the number of October foreclosures as a percentage of total housing units, using data from RealtyTrac, and the number of 2008 vacancies in each metro, using data from the U.S. Census.

To further indicate which markets were standing up best, we looked at cities with low unemployment rates relative to the rest of the country with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We ranked September unemployment rates (the most recent available by metro). We then included in our analysis the three-year job growth forecast, from 2009 to 2012, from Moody's Economy.com, and ranked them by metro.

For affordability and convenience, we included the Housing Affordability Index compiled by Moody's for the second quarter of 2009, and the annual median real estate taxes paid and weekly travel time to work in 2008, using United States Census data. Finally, we looked at the markets economists thought would improve most in the near future, using the three-year forecast for the Case-Shiller Home Price Index from 2009 to 2012, created by Moody's. We ranked metros in each of these measures, then averaged these scores to arrive at a final ranking.