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The Best U.S. Cities for Homeowners in 2022 & 2023

Updated Dec 1, 2022

Updated Dec 1, 2022

Home > Moving > The Best U.S. Cities for Homeowners in 2022 & 2023

Before moving to a new city, knowing how the cost of living, real estate trends, and inflation will impact your financial health is important. Such factors can greatly affect your quality of life – even if you love the attractions and neighbors in your new area. To help potential homebuyers understand the benefits or drawbacks of moving to various cities, we analyzed the 192 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

Our study analyzed each city based on three factors: cost of living, real estate market trends, and quality of life. We then assessed those characteristics to grade each city on a scale of one to 100, with 100 being the best for homeowners.

We used several indicators weighted according to their relevance to homebuyers to define the rating scale for each city’s key characteristics. To calculate a city’s cost of living, we analyzed gas prices, monthly housing costs, property taxes, and food prices. For real estate trends, we looked at average home value, average days on the market, and square footage. Lastly, we accounted for quality of life indicators like crime rates, education, and healthcare quality.

After establishing weighted scores for each city’s three key factors – cost of living, real estate trends, and quality of life – we compiled those scores to find the overall homeowner ranking.

Main Findings

Based on our data, the best and worst cities for homeowners are as follows.

Best 5 Cities for Homeowners

  • Provo, UT (84.9)
  • Boulder, CO (76.7)
  • Fort Collins, CO (71.7)
  • Boise City, ID (71.7)
  • Ogden, UT (71.5)

Worst 5 Cities for Homeowners

  • Vallejo, CA (28.6)
  • Stockton, CA (29.5)
  • Bakersfield, CA (36.5)
  • Merced, CA (37.5)
  • Birmingham, AL (38.3)

Top-ranked Cities for Homeowners

The table below shows the top 25 U.S. cities for homeowners. We’ve included each city’s overall ranking based on a culmination of its weighted ranking factors. You can see how each place ranked individually for cost, real estate, and quality of life out of the 192 metropolitan areas in our dataset.

Overall RankCityOverall ScoreCost RankReal Estate RankQuality of Life Rank
1Provo, UT84.96814
2Boulder, CO76.715392
3Fort Collins, CO71.7152148
4Boise City, ID71.7130321
5Ogden, UT71.5591639
6Naples, FL69.91231031
7Austin, TX69.01361219
8Ann Arbor, MI68.7124963
9Huntsville, AL67.4184247
10Bridgeport, CT67.3158287
11Salt Lake City, UT67.2122763
12Raleigh, NC66.7946811
13Nashville, TN66.11023028
14Spokane, WA65.8138853
15Seattle, WA65.2177205
16Lincoln, NE65.1359033
17Little Rock, AR64.42511530
18Cincinnati, OH64.4611750
19San Jose, CA64.318746
20Winston-Salem, NC63.9711859
21Bristol, TN63.7115384
22Madison, WI63.6121919
23Green Bay, WI63.41411251
24Asheville, NC63.4659820
25Olympia, WA63.41661816

Provo, UT, comes in at No. 1 as the best city for homeowners. According to our rating scale, Provo scores 84.9 out of 100 in terms of affordability, real estate attractiveness, and overall quality of life. Provo stands out against other cities regarding property tax, food prices, and average home square footage. The city also scored 100 for healthcare quality, which contributes significantly to its high quality of life ranking.

In addition to its high overall ranking, Provo takes the No. 1 spot for real estate attractiveness. Provo homes are valued at nearly $150K more than the national average of $357,810 and have a higher average square footage than other U.S. cities. This means that despite the higher home prices, homeowners could get more space for their buck in Provo.

While Provo ranks highly for quality of life and real estate market trends, it’s not the best city for affordability. Out of the top 25 best cities for homeowners, Bristol, TN, scored the No. 1 spot for cost of living. Bristol has cheaper gas prices, food costs, property taxes, and monthly housing costs than any other city in our study. However, Bristol ranks low for real estate attractiveness. Homes in this city are valued at approximately $130K less than the national average.

Naples, FL, could be your perfect destination if you’re more concerned about quality of life than real estate trends and cost of living. Naples scored sixth overall and first for quality of life with low crime rates, decent healthcare quality, and outstanding arts and entertainment per capita.

Bottom-ranked Cities for Homeowners

Below are the rankings for the bottom 25 cities in our dataset. Among the 192 metropolitan areas we studied, these cities ranked the lowest overall for cost of living, real estate attractiveness, and quality of life.

Overall RankCityOverall ScoreCost RankReal Estate RankQuality of Life Rank
168Syracuse, NY45.156185135
169Fresno, CA45.017150155
170Erie, PA44.842189109
171New York, NY44.51808996
172Atlantic City, NJ44.5148151143
173Wichita, KS44.057169177
174Flint, MI43.947164185
175Scranton, PA43.250166183
176Mobile, AL43.081160180
177Corpus Christi, TX42.5110146179
178Shreveport, LA41.532184176
179Visalia, CA41.3170144138
180Modesto, CA41.217437175
181Memphis, TN41.010567191
182Davenport, IA40.912192159
183Montgomery, AL40.674135189
184Charleston, WV40.458191131
185Riverside, CA40.318126178
186Rockford, IL39.130187181
187Peoria, IL39.011319090
188Birmingham, AL38.354123192
189Merced, CA37.517257186
190Bakersfield, CA36.517384182
191Stockton, CA29.5178104190
192Vallejo, CA28.618992187

Vallejo, CA, ranks as the worst U.S. city for homeowners because of several factors. The city scored zero out of 100 for the monthly housing cost-to-income ratio. Additionally, Vallejo’s average home value is similar to the national average, despite its cost of living being higher than the national average. When put up against our key quality of life indicators, Vallejo also ranked poorly in terms of education quality and entertainment features.

Despite ranking 185 out of the 192 metros we studied, Riverside, CA, ranked 26th overall for our real estate indicator. Riverside scored very low for cost of living and quality of life but has relatively high real estate attractiveness due to a low home value-to-income ratio, low real estate vacancy rates, and a higher-than-average home value.

On the other hand, Davenport, IA, scored last for real estate attractiveness but 12th for cost of living. According to our data, Davenport maintains the lowest gas prices, food costs, and cost of living percentage out of any of the 25 bottom-ranked cities. If you’re eager to move to Davenport for those lower prices, remember that the area does have low home values, smaller houses, and poor home value-to-income ratios.

Peoria, IL, ranks 90th for the best quality of life, making it the highest quality of life contender of our bottom-ranked cities. Peoria has decent healthcare quality and low crime rates, contributing to its spot in the top 100 metros for quality of life. However, the city ranks 113th and 190th for cost of living and real estate, respectively, so it’s likely not the best place to live for homeowners on a budget.

Full Data

Now that we’ve discussed the best and worst cities for homeownership, let’s dive into the full dataset. Below you’ll find rankings for all 192 metropolitan areas in our study.

Overall RankCityOverall ScoreCost RankReal Estate RankQuality of Life Rank
1Provo, UT84.96814
2Boulder, CO76.715392
3Fort Collins, CO71.7152148
4Boise City, ID71.7130321
5Ogden, UT71.5591639
6Naples, FL69.91231031
7Austin, TX69.01361219
8Ann Arbor, MI68.7124963
9Huntsville, AL67.4184247
10Bridgeport, CT67.3158287
11Salt Lake City, UT67.2122763
12Raleigh, NC66.7946811
13Nashville, TN66.11023028
14Spokane, WA65.8138853
15Seattle, WA65.2177205
16Lincoln, NE65.1359033
17Little Rock, AR64.42511530
18Cincinnati, OH64.4611750
19San Jose, CA64.318746
20Winston-Salem, NC63.9711859
21Bristol, TN63.7115384
22Madison, WI63.6121919
23Green Bay, WI63.41411251
24Asheville, NC63.4659820
25Olympia, WA63.41661816
26Kennewick, WA63.11252173
27Eugene, OR62.41592434
28Charleston, SC62.11083555
29Fayetteville, AR62.02211361
30Destin, FL61.9894857
31Chattanooga, TN61.6337098
32Durham, NC61.6935554
33North Port, FL61.6994558
34Grand Rapids, MI61.46315414
35Wilmington, NC61.11074456
36Knoxville, TN61.0617669
37Kansas City, MO60.87011437
38Myrtle Beach, SC60.6799542
39College Station, TX60.61187929
40Colorado Springs, CO60.41571591
41Roanoke, VA60.22813660
42Portland, ME60.01376131
43Amarillo, TX59.94072118
44Richmond, VA59.81168336
45Waco, TX59.54487104
46Salisbury, MD59.31199136
47Greeley, CO59.314011148
48Sioux Falls, SD59.315126101
49Gainesville, FL59.29611141
50Atlanta, GA59.11273472
51Fargo, ND59.03111692
52Omaha, NE59.07311948
53Longview, TX58.61693140
54Washington, DC58.61627812
55Dayton, OH58.6914997
56Miami, FL58.51681081
57Pensacola, FL58.48262114
58St. Louis, MO58.46917118
59Lubbock, TX58.47769102
60Salem, OR58.41472587
61Lynchburg, VA58.329108121
62Lakeland, FL58.39838120
63Port St. Lucie, FL58.11313677
64Santa Maria, CA58.0176294
65Bremerton, WA57.91602380
66Fort Wayne, IN57.721140100
67Reno, NV57.71562775
68Tucson, AZ57.78351126
69Ocala, FL57.73880147
70Fort Myers, FL57.51147170
71Hickory, NC57.43161145
72Indianapolis, IN57.445110115
73Melbourne, FL57.38674112
74Greenville, SC57.32316365
75Harrisburg, PA57.29017017
76Santa Cruz, CA57.1186632
77Portland, OR57.01693226
78Savannah, GA57.011154105
79Kalamazoo, MI56.955109110
80Charlotte, NC56.910063119
81Brownsville, TX56.95138152
82San Antonio, TX56.710460116
83Buffalo, NY56.46015952
84Lafayette, LA56.23915286
85Rochester, NY56.18516723
86Jacksonville, FL56.010382103
87Columbus, OH55.97112195
88Poughkeepsie, NY55.81673143
89New Orleans, LA55.59188123
90Albuquerque, NM55.59741154
91Clarksville, TN55.39553151
92Albany, NY55.310915638
93Killeen, TX55.28785133
94Dallas, TX55.11326499
95Cleveland, OH55.12717366
96Tampa, FL55.11396583
97Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN55.114112435
98El Paso, TX55.078102122
99Springfield, MO54.86675158
100Allentown, PA54.811781107
101Gulfport, MS54.74617744
102Lancaster, PA54.614612827
103New Haven, CT54.615515713
104McAllen, TX54.510120167
105Oklahoma City, OK54.548129134
106Salinas, CA54.2183578
107Daytona Beach, FL54.112643142
108San Francisco, CA54.01921315
109Louisville, KY53.952132132
110Manchester, NH53.81358693
111Tulsa, OK53.736137150
112Columbia, SC53.79294137
113Hartford, CT53.413418010
114Milwaukee, WI53.375125128
115Akron, OH53.38179113
116Spartanburg, SC53.324105171
117Tallahassee, FL53.211513368
118Youngstown, OH53.22188125
119Duluth, MN53.26217846
120Orlando, FL53.114939124
121Yakima, WA53.111952156
122South Bend, IN53.113142164
123Greensboro, NC53.141127157
124Des Moines, IA53.03417589
125Cedar Rapids, IA52.72018379
126Evansville, IN52.53718267
127Providence, RI52.414447141
128Virginia Beach, VA52.414510771
129Boston, MA52.11793345
130Lansing, MI52.06417664
131Phoenix, AZ51.715173117
132Trenton, NJ51.614313962
133Reading, PA51.6101148106
134Baltimore, MD51.412813188
135Augusta, GA51.451106170
136Baton Rouge, LA51.453122165
137Jackson, MS51.126134172
138Oxnard, CA50.91821985
139Houston, TX50.910666168
140Canton, OH50.97617474
141Lexington, KY50.916410049
142Worcester, MA50.615059146
143Pittsburgh, PA50.467172108
144Santa Rosa, CA49.81844024
145Hagerstown, MD49.543130173
146Las Vegas, NV49.416129160
147Philadelphia, PA49.0112145127
148Springfield, MA48.8133101153
149San Luis Obispo, CA48.81855825
150Toledo, OH48.74181166
151Beaumont, TX48.519168169
152Huntington, WV48.512916582
153Columbus, GA48.484141161
154York, PA48.314216276
155Anchorage, AK48.316356144
156Detroit, MI48.272155162
157Fayetteville, NC47.888143163
158Utica, NY47.317186139
159Tuscaloosa, AL47.24997188
160Honolulu, HI47.11914922
161Denver, CO47.016517184
162San Diego, CA46.51904640
163Los Angeles, CA46.418822129
164Norwich, CT46.3120158149
165Laredo, TX45.580150174
166Chicago, IL45.2154147130
167Sacramento, CA45.217577111
168Syracuse, NY45.156185135
169Fresno, CA45.017150155
170Erie, PA44.842189109
171New York, NY44.51808996
172Atlantic City, NJ44.5148151143
173Wichita, KS44.057169177
174Flint, MI43.947164185
175Scranton, PA43.250166183
176Mobile, AL43.081160180
177Corpus Christi, TX42.5110146179
178Shreveport, LA41.532184176
179Visalia, CA41.3170144138
180Modesto, CA41.217437175
181Memphis, TN41.010567191
182Davenport, IA40.912192159
183Montgomery, AL40.674135189
184Charleston, WV40.458191131
185Riverside, CA40.318126178
186Rockford, IL39.130187181
187Peoria, IL39.011319090
188Birmingham, AL38.354123192
189Merced, CA37.517257186
190Bakersfield, CA36.517384182
191Stockton, CA29.5178104190
192Vallejo, CA28.618992187

Final Thoughts

When deciding where to call home, prospective homebuyers must know what they’re getting into. We hope this study helps you better understand the benefits and drawbacks of buying real estate in different cities and what factors contribute most to your unique home-buying process.

The best place to start is to determine which of the three key factors – cost of living, real estate attractiveness, and quality of life – is most important to your financial well-being, lifestyle, and family needs. These factors – and where the top U.S. cities rank for them – are extremely useful reference points in your journey to finding the perfect home.

Need more insight on housing prices in your current area? Check out House Method’s study on average U.S. home prices and the salaries needed to afford them.

Methodology

To determine the best cities for homeowners, House Method graded each city on three categories and 24 different factors, using a weighted scale, listed out below. Each metric was graded on a 10-point scale, with a score of 10 representing the most favorable city for homeowners.

Cost of Living (30%)

  • Gas prices
  • Food prices
  • Housing costs
  • Property taxes
  • Cost of living index
  • Cost of home services

Real Estate Trends (35%)

  • Gas prices
  • Food prices
  • Housing costs
  • Property taxes
  • Cost of living index
  • Cost of home services

Quality of Life (35%)

  • Population
  • Education quality
  • Healthcare quality
  • Property crime rate per capita
  • Violent crime rate per capita
  • Average commute time
  • Transit score
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Percentage of college-educated residents

While we have ranked cities, some data is at the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) level. As part of our research, we aim to use the most accurate, authoritative, and current data available. Some of this data is only available by MSA. In these cases, this data was blended with our other data sets to create the city-level rankings.

Sources

U.S. Census American Housing Survey, AAA, BLS, FBI, BEA, local government traffic accident data, NAR, Realtor.com, BestPlaces.net, Numbeo.

Other Resources