Day #344: Buyer’s Market — Depending on Where You Look

I work in one of those professions where folks don’t always stay with the same employer for their entire career.  In fact, when I was in school, many people told me that you shouldn’t get too tied down to any one place.  Others say that no matter how good you have it, occasionally it might be good to see how the market values your particular skill set and stick a toe into the job market.  Based on all of that, I realize that I have no idea where I will be five years from now.  When I think about how I might go about selecting a new city of residence, it’s tough.  Do you simply go where you can find a job or do you put it in reverse and determine where you REALLY want to live and then try to find employment nearby?  I’m not in the job market right now, so I haven’t given it much thought, but I do know that the real estate market would play a big role in any moving decision that I might make in the future.

Lately, some folks in the United States have become slightly less mobile due to the housing market.  Who wants to move and have to worry about how long it will take to sell your home?  However, for folks who are not currently homeowners, there are some great deals to be had.  According to a recent report by Coldwell, there are a number of places in the United States where you can purchase a four bedroom, two bathroom (4×2) home for under $100,000.  Believe it or not, but the 10 most affordable cities in the US boast average 4×2 home prices of $60,000 to $80,000.  By contrast, the ten most expensive places to buy a 4×2 will set you back $1.4 million to $2.5 million on average.  So if you are a bargain shopper and are open to a new city, where are the deals?  According to Coldwell, they are in:

  1. Niagara Falls, NY
  2. Riverdale, GA (near Atlanta)
  3. Coolidge, AZ (near Phoenix)
  4. College Park, GA (near Atlanta)
  5. Detroit, MI
  6. Hastings, FL (near St. Augustine)
  7. Cleveland, OH
  8. Lithonia, GA (near Atlanta)
  9. Trotwood, OH (near Dayton)
  10. Sioux City, IA

Hmmm . . . it looks to me like it’s a safe bet that you could find affordable housing in or around Atlanta, GA right now.  I suppose that’s good to know!  I think the other key to realize here is that these are primarily markets that were either hit hard by the soft economy, the bursting of the housing bubble or both.  I know it might be tough to consider a move to a place like Cleveland or Detroit that is really struggling economically, but that’s where the best deals are!

Just in case you were wondering, here are the 10 most expensive places to buy a 4×2 (according to Coldwell  and based on sales from September 2010 through March 2011):

  1. Newport Beach, CA
  2. Pacific Palisades, CA
  3. Stone Harbor, NJ
  4. Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
  5. Saratoga, CA
  6. Los Gatos, CA
  7. Weston, MA
  8. Greenwich, CT
  9. Mercer Island, WA
  10. Cupertino, CA

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