Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll ever make. After all, a mortgage can have you on the hook for anywhere from 15-30 years. And even though you can always sell a home you don’t like, you can’t guarantee it’ll sell quickly or for as much as you’d like.
In short, your decision to buy a house could be one you live with for decades.
But the questions you need to ask yourself go beyond just the budget and features of the home. You need to consider whether your credit is in good enough shape to get a mortgage, and of course, location matters too. It might be the thing that matters most, as many real estate agents would affirm. So how can you tell what location is best for you? And even if you should consider moving to another state altogether to get more for your money?
This guide will help. Whether your local cost of living makes you break into hives or you’re just curious to see what the rest of the country has to offer, it’s always a good idea to know what’s out there. These are the 20 best cities in the U.S. to buy a house according to data platform Niche.
20 Best Cities in America to Buy a House
1. Plano, TX
When Niche analyzes the best places to live each year, a number of factors come into play, including “median monthly housing costs for homeowners, property taxes, the percent change in median home values, local safety, and much more.” According to Jessica Hair, the media relations coordinator at Niche, the rankings look to “find cities where houses and cost of living are reasonably affordable, where there are good public school options, with median home values trending in a positive direction.”
Given all those factors, Niche says that Plano, TX tops the list for places in America to buy a house. The Southern city takes home top ratings in all categories, including an “A” for housing, an “A+” for jobs, a “B” for cost of living, and more. As for how many people take advantage of this, Plano has a population of more than 279,000.
2. Overland Park, KS
Next up on the list, Niche gives Overland Park, KS a number two rating for best cities to buy a house in America. This city in the Great Plains boasts a score of “A” for housing, “A” for jobs, and a “B” for cost of living, among other factors. Smaller than Plano, Overland Park has a population of fewer than 184,000, so you can get in while the getting is still good.
3. The Woodlands, TX
You’re going to see a theme here: there are a lot of cities in Texas on this list. It’s one of the biggest states in America, after all, but many of its cities also seem to have a solid balance of cost of living and quality of living.
The Woodlands is the next Texas city to come up on the list, securing the bronze medal so to speak on Niche’s list. Specifically, The Woodlands has an “A-” in housing, an “A+” for jobs, and a “B-” for cost of living. And with a population of a little more than 108,000, you might be able to find some peace and quiet as well.
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4. Rochester, MN
Not to be left out, the North has a few cities to offer as well. Niche rates Rochester, MN next up on the list with an “A-” in housing, an “A” for jobs, and a “B+” for cost of living. This might come as a relief to those who don’t think they can bear a hot Texas summer when thinking about where to live. What’s more, Rochester, MN also has a smaller population of a little more more than 111,000, so you won’t feel stuck in a crowd if you buy a house there.
5. Richardson, TX
Here we go again. The next city from Texas to make Niche’s list is Richardson, TX. Part of Dallas County, Richardson brings home top marks in housing (“A-”), jobs (“A-”), and cost of living (“B”). And if you decide to move there, you’ll be sharing a location with slightly more than 108,000 other people.
6. Naperville, IL
Another state further north, Naperville, IL is ranked number six by Niche for best places in America to buy a house. The city has a population of almost 146,000 and is scored “A-” for housing, an “A-” for jobs, and a “C+” for cost of living.
7. Round Rock, TX
Texas strikes again. Niche ranks Round Rock, TX, a city just north of Austin, TX, seventh on the list overall. Round Rock takes home an “A-” for housing, an “A” for jobs, and a “B” for cost of living. With a little over 112,000 people living there, this may be a good option for those who want to be close to a larger city such as Austin without being in the action 24/7.
8. Huntsville, AL
Texas isn’t the only state in the South that makes the list. Niche rates Huntsville, AL the eighth best city in America to buy a house. One of the larger cities on the list so far, Huntsville has a population of 188,973 and takes home a “B+” for housing, a “B” for jobs, and a “B+” for cost of living.
9. Palm Bay, FL
Prefer to live closer to a coast? Check out Palm Bay, FL, ninth on the Niche list of best places to buy a home in America. This city on a bay has just under 107,000 residents and takes home a “B+” for housing, a “B-” for jobs, and a “B+” for cost of living.
10. Cedar Rapids, IA
The Midwest makes the list for the second time with Cedar Rapids, IA coming up tenth. Niche gives the city of just under 130,000 a “B+” for housing, a “B+” for jobs, and an “A-” for cost of living.
11. Sioux Falls, SD
Another Midwestern city takes home the prize as Niche ranks Sioux Falls, SD eleventh on the list. The “Queen City of the West” gets a “B+” for housing, an “A-” for jobs, and an “A-” for cost of living. Currently, 167,884 people call Sioux Falls home.
12. Fort Wayne, IN
Number 12 on Niche’s list is Fort Wayne, ID, a city that gives its residents access to Chicago, Detroit, or Indianapolis in approximately three hours or less. What’s more, with a population of just more than 260,000, this is one of the larger cities on the list.
As for scores, Fort Wayne takes home a “B+” for housing, a “B” for jobs, and an “A” for cost of living.
13. Lincoln, NE
The second city in the Great Plains to make the list, Niche gives Nebraska a “B+” for housing, a “B+” for jobs, and a “B+” for cost of living. If you decide to make Lincoln your home, you’ll share it with just more than 273,000 others.
14. Columbia, MD
Looking to head east? Check out Columbia, MD, next on Niche’s list of best places to buy a house in America. This planned community outside of Baltimore is separated into smaller villages, so you won’t feel like you’re sharing it with about 100,000 others. This uniquely designed city takes home a score of “B+” for housing, “A” for jobs, and “C+” for cost of living.
15. Raleigh, NC
Head down the East coast a little bit, and you’ll find Niche’s next city on the list: Raleigh, NC. Raleigh was given a “B+” for housing, an “A-” for jobs, and a “B-” for cost of living. And if you prefer to be in a less remote place, Raleigh won’t disappoint. Its population of 441,326 makes this city the largest on the list so far.
16. Oklahoma City, OK
But Raleigh isn’t the largest city on the list overall — Oklahoma City, OK is. Oklahoma City boasts a population of approximately 620,000 and is ranked sixteenth on Niche’s list. The city has a grade of “B+” for housing, jobs, and cost of living.
17. Amarillo, TX
And we’re back to Texas. Niche gives Amarillo, TX a grade of “B+” for housing and jobs and “A-” for cost of living. If you want to call this northern Texas city home, you’ll do so along with nearly 200,000 others.
18. Abilene, TX
Drive a bit south, and you’ll find Abilene, TX. Like Amarillo, Niche gives Abilene a “B+” for housing and jobs and an “A-” for cost of living. There are currently just more than 122,000 residents living in Abilene.
19. Odessa, TX
Make your way west from Abilene towards the New Mexico border, and you’ll find Niche’s next pick: Odessa, TX. Odessa takes home a “B+” for housing, an “A” for jobs, and an “A-” for cost of living. The population is just slightly more than 114,000.
20. Wichita Falls, TX
Staying true to the theme of this list, Texas closes Niche’s top 20 rankings of best places to buy a house with Wichita Falls, TX. This city lies just below the border of Texas and Oklahoma and has a score of “B+” for housing, “B” for jobs, and “A-” for cost of living. If you live in Falls, you’ll do so with 105,000 others.