So, you want to buy a home. How big and nice a home you can buy depends to a large degree on, as they say, location, location, location. (Of course, if also depends on your budget and prevailing interest rates, among other things.) Some cities offer much more value for your dollar as well as an easier time getting your loan.
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Here's a look at top cities for new home buyers. See if your city made the list, or whether you have enough location flexibility to be able to house-hunt in one of them.
Oklahoma City. Image source: Pixabay.
The list below is taken from a 2016 SmartAsset.com ranking of the top cities for first-time home buyers. It was formed by giving equal weighting to seven factors, such as the loan funding rate (the percentage of conventional non-jumbo loan applications that were originated into loans), the average price per square foot of residential real estate, homeowner stability, and market volatility. I included some of this data in the table and added median home pricesfrom the third quarter of 2016, per the folks at the National Association of Realtors.
Data sources: SmartAsset.com, Realtor.org.
Tulsa. Image source: Pixabay.
A closer look
Here's a closer look at each of these cities:
1. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Hometo more than 50 Native American tribes as well as descendents of homesteading pioneers, the Sooner State offers plenty of sunshine and low unemployment. Oklahoma City is its largest city and capital. Major industriesinclude oil and cattle, and there's an Air Force base nearby, as well. It's an affordable and stable city, with art museums, music festivals, and more. Companies headquartered in Oklahoma City include Chesapeake Energyand Devon Energy.
2. Tulsa, Oklahoma Tulsa is a smaller than Oklahoma City and even more affordable. Route 66 runs through it, and it features art deco architecture downtown. The city is developinga riverfront park of almost 100 acres, and it offers museums, ballet, opera, casinos, outdoor recreation, and sporting events. Major employers in Tulsa include ONEOKand NGL Energy Partners.
3. Indianapolis, Indiana Indiana's capital and largest city, Indianapolis is knownfor its Indy 500 race as well as for its basketball and other sports. It's very affordable and centrally located, as well. The city was laid out like Washington, D.C., with streets like wheel spokes spreading out from its center. Major companies based in Indianapolis include Eli Lillyand Allison Transmissions.
Pittsburgh. Image source: Pixabay.
4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Pittsburgh isthe nation's largest inland port and a hilly meeting place of three rivers. It offers plenty of sports and culture, from the Steelers to museums, restaurants, and theater. Once a smoky industrial giant, it has become a major developer of green,environmentally friendly buildings. Companies based in Pittsburgh include U.S. Steeland Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies.
5. Houston, Texas With a population topping two million, Houston is one of America's largest cities. It may be known for oil, but its economy is much more diversethan that, specializing in technology and medicine, as well, among other things. It offers a lot to those who love architecture, fine dining, sports, shopping, and recreation. It's a space exploration hub, too, with NASA's Johnson Space Center. Companies based in Houston include Phillips 66and Sysco.
Omaha's Flatiron Hotel. Image source: Pixabay.
6. Omaha, Nebraska Omaha is home to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which is one of America's biggest companies. It's known for its western history, museums, and culture -- including a world-class zoo. Union Pacificis also based in Omaha. Omaha's economy is growing fasterthan the overall nation's, and it's an insurance hub as well as specializingin trade, transportation, and utilities.
7. Wichita, Kansas Wichita is Kansas's largest city, and it has morphed from a cattle town into a city specializing in aviation, oil, railroads, and agriculture. Companies based in Wichita include Spirit AeroSystems Holdingsand Koch Industries -- the second-largest private companyin America, run by the conservative activist Koch brothers.
8. San Antonio, Texas San Antonio's culture was formedby Mexican settlers and Texan ranchers, and today it offers restaurants, museums, galleries, and nightlife. It offersa low cost of living and a vibrant economy. Companies based in San Antonio include Valero Energyand USAA Financial Services.
Bridge, Louisville. Image source: Pixabay.
9. Louisville, Kentucky Louisville offersa low cost of living, horse culture, bluegrass music, and plenty of outdoor recreation. Its southern style of living coexists with lots of businessesin industry, commerce, and shipping. Companies based in Louisville include Yum! Brandsand Humana.
10. Dallas, Texas and Fort Worth, TexasTexas's twin cities are a major population center in the U.S., and they have transitioned from a focus on cattle to industries such as energy and banking. Fort Worth is smaller, more laid-back, and a little more affordable than Dallas. Companies based near the cities include AT&Tand Southwest Airlines.
These aren't the only places where you can get a good deal on a new home. Even in overheated markets, you might find a reasonably priced gem -- though if the area sports costly homes, it may not be as large or fancy as what you can afford in the cities above.
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Selena Maranjian owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway (B shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Berkshire Hathaway (B shares) and ONEOK. The Motley Fool owns shares of Devon Energy. The Motley Fool recommends Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.