Home/Mortgages/The Top Ten Places to Live According to Zillow

January 31, 2011 (Shirley Allen)
We know, we know…not another top ten list, but we have to on this one, only because it’s Zillow. Besides, we have to fun every once in a while! When asked their thoughts on the best places for prospective homeowners to buy in the next year, they thought about what makes a local market an attractive place to buy. They looked at this question from the standpoint of people who live and work in these cities and if 2011 would be a good year for them to take the plunge into home ownership.

The survey was conducted with 4 main criteria and each was given equal weight:

1. Affordability
2. Unemployment
3. Foreclosure Rate
4. Price Appreciation

Without getting into all the messy stuff about how they determined the criteria, the survey said:

1. Utica, NY
Utica, NY scored well in all four categories. The median home price ($104,000) is roughly the equivalent of 2.3 years of median household income . Unemployment in Utica is 7.0%, and is nearly flat, down 0.2% year over year. Utica has the lowest foreclosure rate of any city we looked at for this list with 0.07% of homes being liquidated in foreclosure in the past 12 months. Home values are up nearly 4% quarter over quarter, and up 5.2% year over year–contrast that to national home values down 1.8% quarter over quarter and down 5% year over year.

2. Oklahoma City, OK
Oklahoma City boasts a very strong job market and one that’s improving. It has the lowest unemployment out of the top 5 Best Cities at 6%. The real estate market is healthy as well, with home values up 2.6% year over year and a low foreclosure rate (ranked #3 out of 124 metros).

3. Rochester, NY
Rochester offers buyers an affordable market (median home value is $121,000, the equivalent of 2.4 years of median income) and an improving local economy. Unemployment is down 0.5% this past year. Additionally, the local real estate market is solid: 91% of homes sold for a gain in October 2010 (compared to 70% nationwide).

4. Pittsburgh, PA
Similar to the other featured markets, Pittsburgh is seeing increasing home values on a quarterly and yearly basis. Values are up both quarter over quarter and year over year with 50% of homes seeing an increase in value (compared to 28% of homes nationwide).

5. Tulsa, OK
Tulsa is the most affordable city in the top 10 list: 2.1 years of median income equals the value of a median home ($112,300). Also, the Tulsa market offers home buyers a good bang for their buck with a median value per square foot of $73 (compared with $108 nationally).

Rounding out the top 10:

Albany, NY
Lancaster, PA
Madison, WI
Green Bay, WI
Lincoln, Nebraska

If you’d really like to read the whole survey, click here.

Tags: zillow, top ten places to live, affordability, unemployment, foreclosure, rate, unemployment