If You Want to Move to a Big City, Start Here

Securing a home in today’s market can be rough in the face of high interest rates, high home prices, and limited inventory. 

The long-term benefits of homeownership are often resoundingly beneficial, but buying is only one part of the battle—once purchased, buyers often face a litany of new challenges that come with being a homeowner. 

According to LendingTree Senior Economist Jacob Channel, he analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey to find which of the nations largest metropolitan area are the best for prospective homeowners. Specifically, LendingTree analyzed the 50 largest cities and weighted them equally in nine different categories: 

  • Five-year median home value appreciation 
  • Median household income for owner-occupied homes 
  • Homeownership rate 
  • Median annual taxes for owner-occupied homes 
  • Median ratio of housing costs to household income for owner-occupied homes 
  • Share of occupied households with one or fewer occupants per room 
  • Share of occupied households without complete plumbing facilities 
  • Share of occupied households without complete kitchen facilities 
  • Share of occupied households with no phone service available 

Overall, the study revealed that Raleigh, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and St. Louis are the three best metropolitan areas for homeownership. Each of these metros ranks among the lowest for share of homes lacking complete plumbing and kitchen facilities (both are lowest in Raleigh), meaning they appear to have relatively high-quality housing available. At the same time, owner-occupied households in these areas tend to spend proportionately less of their incomes on their housing costs than households in other metros. This, combined with other factors—such as Raleigh and St. Louis’ high homeownership rates and Charlotte’s large five-year median home value growth—helps these metros rise above their shortcomings. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami are the three worst large metros for homeownership. Apart from high incomes for owner-occupied households in Los Angeles and San Francisco and decent home price appreciation in Miami, these metros rank poorly in each category we used to form our overall ranking. 

Another interesting statistic revealed by the study revealed half of the top 10 cities were in the South. In addition to Raleigh and Charlotte, Nashville, Tennessee (fourth), Atlanta (fifth), and Jacksonville, Florida (seventh), made it into the top 10. The non-Southern metros in the top 10 are in the Midwest and West: St. Louis (third), Minneapolis (sixth), Indianapolis (eighth), and Kansas City, Missouri., and Salt Lake City (tied for ninth). 

Click here for a complete rundown of the top-50 cities. 

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