The Best Cities for Veterans to Buy a Home

By David Cusick

Veterans and their families hold a special place in society. We, as Americans, take pride in honoring those who have served in the military and reward them with a number of benefits—both from the government and in the private sector. Some of those benefits include lower-interest home loans or home repair grants from the VA.

Many veterans take advantage of these types of programs to purchase a home at a more affordable cost. However, the real estate market varies significantly in different cities across the country, as does factors such as income, cost of living, and healthcare options. 

With that in mind, House Method put together this study on the best cities for veterans to buy a home. We analyzed the data for 50 cities and ranked them according to 10 factors, such as the cost of a home, average veteran income, and quality of VA healthcare. Read on for the complete rankings and explanation of the methodology.

Main findings

Summary

Our analysis found that San Antonio is the best city for veterans to buy a home. It stood out with high marks for real estate and veteran well-being. Interestingly, it ranked #16 for veteran benefits. However, the other two categories pushed San Antonio to number one. Rounding out the rest of the top five are Raleigh, Virginia Beach, Columbus, and Orlando.

The bottom five cities are some of the nation’s largest: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Miami, and San Jose. All but Miami ranked poorly for real estate and cost of living and many of the cities had poor marks for the other two categories as well.

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Methodology

To find the best cities for veterans to buy a home, we looked at data for the 50 largest MSAs in the United States. We ranked the cities using three categories:

  1. Real estate
  2. Veteran well-being
  3. Veteran benefits

In all, there were 10 factors across those three larger categories that are listed below along with their corresponding weights. Each city was graded on an 80-point scale, with a score of 80 representing the ideal city for veteran homebuyers.

Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all categories to calculate its Veteran Homebuyer Score and used the results to rank-order our sample.

Real estate—30 points

  • Cost of a home (based on the median home price)—Double Weight
  • Homes available (number of homes for sale per 100,000 veterans)—Double Weight
  • Cost of living—Double Weight

Veteran well-being—30 points

  • Percentage of veterans (percentage of the population who are veterans)—Full Weight
  • Veteran median income—Double Weight
  • Veteran unemployment (percentage of veterans in the workforce who are unemployed)—Double Weight
  • Percentage of veterans below poverty level (based on yearly income)—Full Weight

Veteran benefits—20 points

  • Number of VA Health centers (calculated using per 100,000 veterans rate)—Full Weight
  • Quality of VA Health centers—Double Weight
  • Number of VA Benefits Centers (calculated using per 100,000 veterans rate)—Full Weight

Sources

  • US Census Bureau
  • VA.gov
  • Zillow.com
  • Numbeo Cost of Living Index

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