The Most Livable Cities, The Most Affordable Homes
The housing market has gone a little crazy in the past few years. For sellers, this has been a dream market.
If you purchased a home in 2009 let’s say, and sold in 2015, you probably saw some sweet cash!
If you have been trying to get into the housing market for the past year, you know it hasn’t been easy.
People are still buying homes at an increasing rate. But in 2017, the rate has gone down form previous years.
And next year, studies show that it will only continue to drop.
Why? Frankly because people can’t afford it.
There is a lot more that goes into buying a home than one might think.
Such as cheap homeowners insurance. Getting the best price to insure your home can really add up.
This is especially true if you live in a flood zone or other hazardous area.
There are some good things about our economy being in an upswing, don’t get me wrong.
But, as of now, we have a housing crisis. It’s the sort of crisis we don’t need to worry about.
Nonetheless, many families cannot afford to get into the house of their dreams.
Or any house for that matter.
Where Should I Live?
I have done a little research and came up with the top ten cities in America that are most livable.
What does “most livable” mean?
This means that people can afford to live here! It means that you can easily access a job and most importantly purchase a home.
Let’s see what is out there:
Grand Rapids, Michigan
This cute and prosperous city by the Lreat lakes is an awesome place to not only live but to purchase a home.
- With a population of just over 1 million residents, Grand Rapids has a strong economy.
- The average income is $43 thousand dollars a year.
- The average home price is $175 thousand dollars. This seems quite reasonable!
- Housing values have risen over 7% in the past year.
- Being able to spend less than $200 thousand dollars on a home is almost unheard of in most parts of the United States.
- Grand Rapids is also surrounded by smaller, less expensive suburbs. Many residents choose to commute and save on their housing purchase.
- The housing price per square foot is more than the average in Michigan. However, you also have access to more jobs at a better wage.
This bustling little metropolis has just over 600 thousand residents.
Located in the middle of America, you may not think of Kansas as a rich cultural center.
Housing in Kansas has stayed relatively affordable.
- Residents here still spend 26% of their income on housing.
- The average income is $42 thousand dollars a year.
- Commuting is relatively easy
- The median housing price in Wichita is a mere $150 thousand dollars.
- Finding homeowners insurance here is easy as well. The only thing you may want to up on your homeowners insurance policy is for tornado disasters. Kansas is hit by more than a few tornados every year. Remember The Wizard Of Oz?
Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock has a rich history. It also has a growing population and economy.
As the housing market grows, the prices of houses in Little Rock have gone up.
But statistics show that in 2017, Little Rock residents spent less on housing costs than in 2016.
- The median income in Little Rock is $46 thousand dollars a year. That is household income.
- The average price of a home is around $175 thousand dollars.
- Unfortunately Little Rocks sales tax is 9% which is a little high compared to the national average.
- Unemployment here is under the National average at only 3.5%.
Over all Little Rock is a gem in the middle of the country. You can easily purchase a home for your family under $200 thousand dollars.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Not only is this city beautiful and full of history, it is a very easy place to live. Business and population are growing rapidly here and the low housing prices are helping.
- The average income here annually is $51 thousand dollars.
- Residents here spend on average only 25% of their household income. That is somewhat low compared to the national average.
- The Raleigh/Durham metro area grew over 6% last year and that trend just keeps rising.
- It was ranked in the top ten cities for growth in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- The population of Raleigh is 1.8 million residents. This is ranked as the top 100 metropolitan cities in population.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is a tourist destination for those long winter days.
When some are trying to leave the snow, millions every year come to Salt lake for the skiing and beautiful panoramic views.
Salt Lake is also a fairly progressive area when it comes to housing.
Last year, the city build affordable housing for it’s homeless population. This helped to get people off of the streets and under a roof.
You can also attain cheap homeowners insurance in this state. Statistics show that Salt Lake City is quite livable.
The economy seems to be flourishing too!
- With a population of over 2 million people in the greater region, Salt Lake is a large city there is no doubt. But in many ways it still has a small town feel.
- The average income annually is $45 thousand dollars.
- The median housing price in Salt Lake is $280 thousand dollars. Now this is a bit more than other cities with the same annual income value.
- This city is growing at a rate of 9%. So with more growth and business, no doubt comes more opportunity. This is what people are moving here for.
- For the outdoor enthusiast, there is no better place to live. For someone looking to purchase a home, you know you are making a solid investment.
Omaha is more like a small town with a large population. People flock here for the feel and the affordability.
With a population of 900 thousand, Omaha is a growing city on the outskirts of everything. How is it flourishing then?
- It was ranked #2 in the Nation for the most affordable places to live according to U.S. News.
- The annual average income is $45 thousand dollars a year, much like Salt Lake City.
- But the average housing price is only $160 thousand dollars. This makes for some great statistics.
- Residents spend an average of 25% on their housing costs.
- Homeownership is very achievable for most residents of this area.
- Housing prices have risen by 8% in the past year and are indicated to rise another 3% next year. This is good for those residents wanting to sell.
Des Moines, Iowa
Iowa may also seem like an odd place to have the best affordable housing in the nation. But here, the average household only spends 23% on housing costs.
This is below any other city in the country over 500 thousand residents.
- The average annual income is $47 thousand dollars.
- The average price of a home in Des Moines is around $130 thousand dollars. For the income of people living here, the housing prices are astoundingly low.
- With a population of only 600 thousand residents, this town is doing quite well for itself. That may be because the housing prices have only increased 2% last year and are indicated to rise the same amount this year.
- It may be one of the last places to see the upward swing of the housing market. For buyers, this is a great thing.
Most of us recognize that California has some of the highest housing prices in the United States. But it also has one of the best economies. You can make more living in California than almost anywhere else maybe besides New York City.
Clovis, California is one of those remarkable little towns that have it all. You can sustain a good job here and most likely afford a home. The schools are exceptional and the weather is pretty nice too.
- The average price of a home in Clovis is around $360 thousand dollars.
- The average income is $64 thousand dollars a year. Those salaries have grown significantly in the past few years.
- This city has only 107 thousand people, but for it’s size it is doing quite well.
- If you are looking for a smaller feel in sunny California, you may want to check out this Northern California city.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio has a population of 1.5 million residents. There is so much to do in San Antonio. A college town and a progressive place to live, this beautiful town is filled with life.
From the waterways of downtown to the Alamo historical sight, you can have it all.
- This town has grown in business and population in recent years.
- The average housing cost of San Antonio is $240 thousand dollars.
- The average income is $55 thousand dollars. That is a pretty good ratio.
- Even though the median income is lower than the national average, people are still affording houses.
- Housing prices have gone up over recent years, and are estimated to rise next year. But the people of this great city should not worry, housing prices are still much lower than many other cities of the same population.
In the hills of Northern California, near the coast, lies a town with artist and players.
People come to this small town to experience something different.
With a population of a mere 30 thousand residents, it is the smallest town on our list.
But, if we are talking about livability, Eureka has that in spades.
- The average housing price is $289 thousand dollars.
- The average income is $40 thousand dollars. But this is rising.
- A lot of people who live here are artists and thrive on the simple life.
- The sales tax here as well as the income tax is 8%.
- People usually don’t move to Eureka for the metropolitan fee. If you are looking for a more laid back approach to life, then try Humboldt Counties gem: Eureka.
- You can bet on spending a little money driving to see friends and family. Eureka is located up high in the northern coast of California. There are many small towns gathered together in one area. The closest large city is San Fransisco, which is still a few hour drive.
Purchasing For The Future
Most people buy a home as an investment for the future. Whether they are buying for a growing family, or to make money down the road, real estate is usually a pretty sound investment.
Other things to think about when purchasing a home:
- Taxes. Depending on where you live, taxes fluctuate. Taxes are usually paid quarterly. Taxes are assessed based on the price of your home. If you buy an expensive home in an up and coming neighborhood, you pay more.
- Homeowners Insurance. Having the right amount of homeowners insurance is pertinent to your financial success. Most policies cover liability, damages to your home and theft. You can choose to buy more insurance such as flood or fire insurance.
- When you purchase a home, home lenders require you to have a minimum amount of coverage in order to protect what they are financing.
- Homeowners insurance is in place in case a disaster such as a fire occurs and your home is destroyed. You will need it insured to pay off the loan on the home and recover damages.
- Maintenance. Roof, gutters, trees and grass! When you own your own home, you are responsible for it all! You should budget to put away money every month for repairs to your home. Between water damage and animals and children, the bills can really stack up!
What is right for me?
We can talk all day long about statistics. You can measure housing values against the population growth of a town.
But at the end of the day, you have to enjoy the community in which you live. People have moved time and time again, trying to find that “right” place.
More often than not, wherever there is family and friends, people will find a place to call home.
Having a budget and tools handy to help you in your home purchasing adventures is always a good idea. But the feel of a place is important too.
The top ten cities listed above range from 2 million in population and tourism galore, to a small wooded community.
Here are a couple key terms you may want to know before deciding on homes, homeowners insurance or financial responsibility.
- Assessed Values: Used in taxation to value properties.
- Beach and Windstorm Policy: State sponsored insurance risk pool to provide coverage for hurricanes or other coastal storms.
- Burglary and Theft Coverage: Additional coverage that pays for loss due to criminal theft.
- Comprehensive Personal Liability Policy (CPL): A homeowners additional coverage option that includes liability coverage for family or individuals to cover loss such as from pet ownership, sports participation and other everyday activities.
- Condominium Insurance: Coverage for your personal property and the interior of your condo. May also contain liability coverage for someone injured in your home.
- Crime Insurance: Coverage for damage or loss incurred during a crime such as theft or burglary. Some areas with higher crime rates may choose for this additional option.
- Fire Insurance: Coverage that pays for loss associated with fire.
- Flood Insurance: Additional coverage that covers for loss associated with flood waters. This coverage may be mandatory depending on the zoning laws of your area.