Big cities get all the attention as hipster hotspots, but medium-sized cities are where first-time homeowners can actually afford to buy a house.
Personal-finance services site SmartAsset.com ran the numbers and found that the sweet spots that offer affordable housing and a strong economy with good-paying jobs are in Texas and Florida. Other unlikely sweet spots: Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Cary, North Carolina, Wichita and Oklahoma City.
If you’re selling a house in a smaller city, you might be marketing to a wider audience than you thought.
Here’s how to figure that out.
- First, see how your region or city fares in the Brookings Institute ranking of metro area growth. If you’re in Provo, Utah, you’re in good shape, a number four on the Brooking list with an 18.6% increase in jobs from 2009 to 2014, and a 21% increase in aggregate wages over the same period.
- Now find out the media listing price for houses in your area. Go to Realtor.com and scroll down to the “Find Your Neighborhood” page. Plug in your area and up will pop the media listing price for your area. (As a national residential real estate agency that’s a member of 110 local multiple listing services, USRealty.com helps support databases that feed Realtor.com.) In Provo, the median home listing price is $248,000.
- Finally, figure out the typical affordability of your area: go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics page that reports median wages for U.S. metro areas. Here we find that the mean annual wage in Provo is $42.470. Plug that into a home affordability calculator and we find that the hypothetical average earner in Provo can afford a house of $228,734. That’s pretty close to Provo’s median home listing price of $248,000, especially given the area’s strong growth, which means that a first-time buyer can reasonably hope to soon earn more and potentially move to a bigger house.
If you’re selling a house in an area with moderate housing prices and strong earnings growth, promote that in your home listing through USRealty.com. Assume that millennial buyers from across the country will be scouting towns like yours for potential relocation. Collect additional data about economic and job growth from local sources and link to that from your listing. Give first-time buyers context for envisioning a thriving life in your house, in your town.