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Planning to Move? Check out These Places to Get the Best Deals in Today’s Market

News outlets everywhere are itching to report trends and changes in the real estate market that might signal good news. But while interest rates keep getting hiked and home prices are inching down just far enough to hope for negotiations, it’s not time to begin celebrating quite yet.
Planning to Move? Check out These Places to Get the Best Deals in Today's Market
“Trying to gain an advantage in 2022’s real estate market is a bit like trying to game the New York Stock Exchange: full of contradictory signals, dead ends, and lots and lots of guesswork,” says Realtor’s Evan Wyloge. “Home shoppers looking for the right location at the right price can feel overwhelmed trying to piece together which indicator can help guide them in the right direction.” He goes on to say how each metric is only part of the story.

So Realtor’s team decided to put together a 2022 housing “theory of everything”—combining several of the most important indicators and metrics into a list of the best cities in America for homebuyers right now if relocation is a serious consideration. They analyzed housing data from the nation’s 250 largest cities, studying the price per square foot compared with the local median income (to ensure residents can afford to become homeowners); how many days a home spends on the market (to assess how quickly homes are selling and whether sellers might be ready to negotiate); the percentage of sellers cutting prices; and even the amount of homes for sale relative to the total number of households in the city. Finally, they limited their list to just one city per state to ensure geographic diversity. Here are just some of the results.
“It turns out shoppers in certain parts of the country don’t need to wait for the national market to sort itself out—new opportunities to buy the right home are opening up fast,” says Wyloge, who quotes Realtor economist George Ratiu: “For some of these markets, it’s a return to balance especially where you saw lots of dramatic demand increases during the past couple of years.”
Spread out, from the sunny Southwest to the Upper Midwest and back to the beaches of Florida, we’ll start with Midland, TX., where the median listing price is $343,730. Midway between Dallas and El Paso, TX, along a long stretch of railroad, Midland earned its spot atop Realtor’s “buyer’s bonanza” list because of its low home prices, high relative wages, and an abundance of homes for sale. The area is a mecca for the oil and gas industry, and that’s brought lots of geologists, engineers, chemists — well paid scientists and experts. “While the median household income in Midland is 45% above the national average at around $94,000, the price of real estate is about 25% below the national average, at around $164 per square foot,” says Wyloge, placing buyers in the area in a more comfortable position.
Cedar Rapids, IA’s median listing price is $232,450. The city is known for its strong manufacturing and food-processing industries, especially corn, and is ranked so highly on this list because home prices are low while local incomes are relatively high. Buyers in the city can still find a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house with a new wooden deck for under $100k, and those with larger budgets looking for more space can nab a 3 BR, 2.3 BA house with a deck, patio, and finished basement for around $245,000.
Motown, once an automotive powerhouse, has struggled over the past few decades as plants have closed and workforces have dwindled. Detroit, MI’s residents moved away, leaving the housing market devastated. The gem here is that Detroit has some of the most affordable real estate in the country. “Right now, the median price per square foot in Detroit is $72—that’s just one-third the national average,” says Wyloge. “And, like the other top contenders on this list, the city has a median income at around the national average, giving Motown buyers lots of affordable options. He goes on to say that the current inventory in Detroit is higher than it’s been for most of the past five years, except for a few months in late 2019, providing buyers with plenty of choices along with time to make them. A move-in ready 3 BR, 2 BA brick house can be had for around $150,000.
Heading south, Lawrenceville, GA, with a median listing price of $402,000 is a relatively small town about 30 minutes northeast of Atlanta made Realtor’s list thanks to its relatively high local wages and relatively low home prices per square feet. However, what really stands out about Lawrenceville is the share of listings that have had their price reduced—a steep 42%—along with the bounce back in inventory. The number of homes for sale is back up to nearly normal levels for the area, after dipping in 2021 to less than a quarter of what’s available now. Buyers can snag a 3,000-square-foot, fixer upper for $350,000. Or they can opt for a 3 BR, 2 BA Cape Cod with a patio for $300,000.
Even farther south is Jacksonville, FL, where out-of-state buyers at the eastern tip of the state flocked during the COVID-19 pandemic looking to soak up some sunshine, buying up local properties. With a close proximity to the coast and moderate climate, it has become an ideal location for those looking to escape the busy metropolitan hustle and take advantage of the new work-from-home lifestyle. While Jacksonville’s inventory still hasn’t reached a pre-pandemic normal, it’s getting close, with a cute, 3 BR, 1 BA house with a front porch selling for $225,000. Splurgers can find a renovated, 3,000-square-foot ranch with a lanai and pool for $675,000.
Idaho has become a Mecca for those escaping the West Coast’s non-affordability over the past few years and Boise, ID, like Jacksonville, has below-average prices along with an abundant active and outdoor lifestyle, placing it at the top of the list for shoppers who wanted someplace that has year-round quality of life at a low cost. Admittedly, the influx of new residents led prices to soar—and builders to go on a local construction spree. “The latter has helped to boost inventory at a time when there are fewer buyers in the market,”says Wyloge. “The result is that more than half of all current listings have had their price reduced—more than any other city on this list.”
Reno, NV, sits on the east side of the California-Nevada border, less than an hour from the beautiful Lake Tahoe, where boating, hiking, and skiing made the area another pandemic hot spot. An influx of new homes caused lots of price reductions, placing it closer to where it was in 2018 and 2019. A 2 BR, 1 BA condo in a community with a pool goes for $245,000, while those looking for a single-family home can score a 4 BR, 3 BA house for around $550,000.
Baton Rouge, LAMyrtle Beach, SC, and — believe it or not — Scottsdale, AZ round out the last of the top ten, but with that last entry, pricing is all relative. While Scottsdale’s prices have dropped 7% since the high in April, inventory is still not back up to pre-pandemic levels.

Realtor, TBWS

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