Whether you’re a foreign national or U.S. expat looking for an overseas investment property, buying real estate in the U.S. can be a wise and lucrative financial decision. However, in a country so vast, diverse, and spread out, choosing the best location can be a daunting task.
Luckily, a recent SmartAsset study examined home prices in over 400 U.S. metropolitan areas since 1997 and ranked them based on price stability and home value growth. The following are the top 10 best places to buy a house in the U.S. if you’re looking for the best return on your investment.
1. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, Texas
The Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown Metropolitan area, also known as Greater Austin, is situated on the edge of the American South in Central Texas. The region is home to a number of major universities and boasts a diverse economy fuelled by software, semiconductors, education, and government services.
- Price Change — 368%
- Population — 2,173,808
- Median Age — 35
- Median Household Income — $80,852
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $303,300
2. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder, Colorado, sits in the Boulder Valley, where the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains meet. The city has a temperate climate, with most days of the year being sunny. Top employers include the University of Colorado at Boulder, IBM Corporation, Google, and Ball Corporation.
- Price Change — 277%
- Population — 108,777
- Median Age — 28.8
- Median Household Income — $72,279
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $736,000
3. Midland, Texas
Midland, Texas, is a major producer of oil and natural gas and had the lowest unemployment rate in the United States, according to a 2014 report. The city is located in the plains of West Texas and has a semi-arid climate with cool to mild winters and hot summers.
- Price Change — 266%
- Population — 141,194
- Median Age — 31.4
- Median Household Income — $83,616
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $238,000
4. Odessa, Texas
Odessa, Texas, ranked as the third-fastest-growing small city in the United States in a 2014 Forbes article. The city is the former home of the Bush family and is primarily fueled by the oil industry, with its economy rising and falling with the price of crude oil.
- Price Change — 247%
- Population — 122,630
- Median Age — 30.4
- Median Household Income — $63,829
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $159,700
5. Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado, is a mid-sized college town with an economy based on a mix of service-related business and manufacturing. High-tech companies like Hewlett Packard, Intel, and Microsoft all have offices in Fort Collins due to the resources of the Colorado State University research facilities.
- Price Change — 242%
- Population — 166,069
- Median Age — 29.9
- Median Household Income — $70,528
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $398,800
6. Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota, is home to many famous attractions, and Mount Rushmore is located in the nearby Black Hills. Rapid City’s largest sector is government services, with tourism and finance, and investment companies also making up a large part of the city’s economy.
- Price Change — 231%
- Population — 76,541
- Median Age — 37.2
- Median Household Income — $53,760
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $194,100
7. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, is one of North America’s largest business centers and is home to a diverse metropolitan economy. The region has an expanding light rail transit system that spans over 90 miles and 60 stations. 300 corporations, including 24 Fortune 500 companies, are headquartered here.
- Price Change — 228%
- Population — 4,997,015
- Median Age — 34.9
- Median Household Income — $74,251
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $254,300
8. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas is also known as Greater Houston. It is the fifth-most populous metropolitan area in the United States and ranked first in employment growth in 2017. It has routinely been categorized as one of the top 10 best places to do business in the United States.
- Price Change — 221%
- Population — 6,979,613
- Median Age — 34.5
- Median Household Income — $69,328
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $208,100
9. Kennewick-Richland, Washington
Kennewick-Richland, Washington’s economy is based on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and agriculture. Three nearby rivers provide enough water for growing wheat, its most common product, and its semi-arid climate allows grapes to grow in its many wineries.
- Price Change — 217%
- Population — 294,396
- Median Age — 34.1
- Median Household Income — $70,545
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $246,700
10. San Angelo, Texas
San Angelo, Texas, has been routinely ranked as one of the best small cities for business and employment. For a city of its size, San Angelo has a diverse economy. Oil fields to the west employ many local residents, and the city boasts a strong agricultural industry.
- Price Change — 214%
- Population — 100,509
- Median Age — 34
- Median Household Income — $55,682
- Median Value of Owner-Occupied Housing Units — $143,300
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