When there is more housing supply than demand in a local or regional market, it is referred to as a “buyer’s market” in the real estate industry. Buyer’s markets are characterized by comparatively cheap pricing, discounts on the selling price, and a slower than average pace of home transactions. Some definitions go so far as to include things like a high concentration of single-family houses and minimal property taxes.
For people who are patient and looking for long-term investment prospects, as well as those who just want to upgrade to a better home at a fair price, these conditions are ideal. Even though we are past the era of really low mortgage rates, you can still get fantastic offers if you know where to look.
First-time homeowners find buyer’s markets particularly appealing because of their low pricing and plentiful availability. Furthermore, it’s now simpler than ever to locate and take advantage of buyer’s markets because of internet data aggregators like Redfin, Roofstock, and Zillow.
America’s Greatest Cities for Home Purchases
These are a few of the top buyer’s markets in the United States at the moment, not in any particular order. All of them are metropolitan areas, which are made up of one or more larger cities as well as the exurbs and suburbs that surround them. The standards by which we compiled this list are listed below.
1. Ohio’s Cleveland (Elyria, Mentor, and Cleveland Metro Area)
• Cleveland proper median home sale price is $104,666.
• Discount on Selling Price: 0%
• Change Over a Year: -1.4%
• Change Over Three Years: +44.5%
• Change Over Five Years: +73.0%
• Local Unemployment Rate: 4.4%; Median Time on Market: 9 days
Cleveland proper and inner-ring streetcar communities like Shaker Heights are teeming with antique residences from the first three decades of the 20th century, even after decades of neglect. For many, all they require is a new coat of paint and some contemporary finishing.
Even if heavy industry predominates in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland isn’t quite as stereotypical as, say, neighboring Canton, the once-prominent center for automobile rubber.
It is a world-class center for healthcare, largely due to the presence of the Cleveland Clinic, the largest private employer in the city. The Cleveland Clinic is a hub for biotechnology research, along with University Hospitals Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University. The Glenn Research Center, named for native Ohioan John Glenn, is even home to a NASA research facility.
2. Ohio’s Toledo
• In Toledo proper, the median home sale price was $112,056.
• Premium for Selling Price: +0.9%
• Yearly Variation: +3.4%
• Change Over Three Years: +42.9%
• Change Over Five Years: +62.2%
Five days is the median time on the market, and the local unemployment rate is 3.9%.
Toledo’s post-industrial economy remains sluggish, but during the past ten years, neighboring municipalities have added thousands of well-paying jobs. Furthermore, real estate investors and urban pioneers who recognize a good deal when they see one find themselves drawn to the bargain-basement land and house costs.
The thing about Toledo’s property market that sticks out the most is its sheer affordability. Despite the fact that the Toledo area is home to about a million people, the city’s median housing expenses are still remarkably cheap. Buyers might not have much time to take advantage of these once-in-a-generation opportunities, though, as local property values are growing swiftly.
Many of the fixer-upper properties available to seasoned real estate investors date back to the 1910s and 1920s.
3. Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia (Wilmington, Camden, and Philadelphia Metro Area)
• The typical price paid for a home in Philadelphia is $221,032.
• Discount on Selling Price: -0.4%
• Change Over a Year: -2.2%
• Change Over Three Years: +18.5%
• Change Over Five Years: +41.6%
• 17. days is the median time on the market; 3.9% is the local unemployment rate.
One of the most visited cities in the country and the sixth-largest in terms of population is Philadelphia. It offers buyers the finest deal out of all the main northeastern cities. Compared to New York City or the neighboring Washington, D.C., you’ll receive a lot more house for your money here.
Although there is heavy traffic, the public transportation system offers respectable coverage all the way to the suburbs. Most likely, if your job is in central Philadelphia, you’ll commute by bus or train.
Thanks to a vibrant tech environment and a diverse regional employment base, finding a job in Philadelphia is not difficult. Furthermore, the distance by rail to New York City is just 90 miles, and many of people living in the Philadelphia region commute there at least occasionally. The gasoline or train bill is justified by the relatively low cost of housing in Philadelphia.
Nearby, there is an incredible selection of quaint row houses and detached homes from the 19th and early 20th centuries in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, all screaming for the hard work of new owners.
4. The Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area in Nebraska
• In Omaha proper, the median home sale price is $274,816.
• Premium on Selling Price: +1.3%
• Change Over a Year: +2.9%
• Change Over Three Years: +30.8%
• Change Over Five Years: +47.1%
• 5. days is the median time on the market; 2.6% is the local unemployment rate.
The largest city in Nebraska, Omaha serves as the center of a three-state region encompassing portions of Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska.
For those who are interested in finance, Omaha is home to Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, who is arguably the most well-known buy-and-hold investor in the world. The fact that Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting is highly anticipated in Omaha is less a result of the laid-back social culture in the city than it is of the regard that Buffett and his right-hand man Charlie Munger enjoy among other investors.
However, finding good buys in Omaha doesn’t require you to follow Buffett and Munger’s investing philosophy or even know who they are. The city’s aged inner-city housing stock presents countless fixer-upper chances, and its real estate market is consistently lively but never overheated. When the time comes, you should have no issue selling because the region’s diverse economy contributes to one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.
5. Tulsa, Oklahoma
• Median Home Sale Price: $195,024 (Tulsa proper)
• Selling Price Discount: 0%
• One-Year Change: +5.2%
• Three-Year Change: +42.3%
• Five-Year Change: +67.5%
• Median Time on the Market: 7 days
• Local Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
The economy of Tulsa is robust and doesn’t appear to be slowing down. The city is home to several energy companies’ main offices and branch offices, therefore the continuous shale gas development has been very beneficial to it. Additionally helpful is Tulsa’s proximity to Cushing, Oklahoma, home to one of the biggest energy ports in the world.
Meanwhile, the city is a jumping-off point for tourists wishing to escape to the Ouachita Mountains and the adjacent lake basin of northeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Missouri. Fantastic recreational activities may be found in both areas, including a top-notch long-distance hiking track.
Tulsa continues to be extraordinarily affordable by national standards, but as a market that has seen significant price hikes over the previous five years, astute purchasers may want to exercise caution. That’s not going to change very soon, if history is any indication.
6. Illinois’s Rockford
• Median Home Sale Price: $144,959 (Rockford proper)
• Selling Price Premium: +1.0%
• Yearly Variation: +6.2%
• Change Over Three Years: +43.4%
• Five-Year Change: +56.8%
• 5 days is the median time on the market; 6.3% is the local unemployment rate.
Though fewer than 100 miles away from Chicago’s downtown, Rockford is not much like the Windy City. In addition to its current heavy industrial foundation, Rockford is becoming a hub for the insurance business and has had some success in luring high-tech manufacturers.
Rockford is also a significant trucking hub because it is the meeting point of two of the busiest interstate roads in the Midwest.
The home market in Rockford has been expanding for a while now. On average, homeowners who purchased in 2013 and 2014, at what turned out to be the lowest point in the market, have seen a return on their investment of more than 100%. It makes sense that costs could climb more because they are still much below the national average.
7. Des Moines, Iowa (Metro Area of Des Moines-West Des Moines)
• $197,838 is the median home sale price in Des Moines proper.
• Discount on Selling Price: 0%
• Yearly Variation: +1.0%
• Change Over Three Years: +23.9%
• Change Over Five Years: +36.0%
The market’s median duration is six days, and the local unemployment rate is 2.9%.
Similar to Omaha, Des Moines serves as the regional center for a primarily agricultural hinterland and is the biggest city in a tiny Midwestern state. Like Omaha, it has an unexpectedly diversified and strong economy, but its hometown heroes don’t include any billionaire investors.
Iowa’s state capital, Des Moines, brings with it a continuous stream of state tax income. Major financial services and insurance companies including as Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo, Voya Financial, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield are also based there.
Des Moines is home to a burgeoning data center sector led by Microsoft and Facebook, as well as reasonably priced housing and power.
The home market in Des Moines is still reasonable in spite of everything. Cheap tract housing may be easily constructed on the cornfields that around the metropolitan center due to the mild topography and relatively low land costs. Additionally, owner-occupants might find a lot of deals in the city’s stock of urban housing from the early 20th century.
8. The city of Albuquerque, NM
• $323,682 is the median price of a home sold in Albuquerque proper.
• Discount on Selling Price: 0%
• Yearly Variation: +3.3%
• Change Over Three Years: +39.8%
• Change Over Five Years: +60.1%
Four days is the median time on the market, and the local unemployment rate is 4.2%.
Albuquerque has had steadily growing list prices over the past few years, thus its standing as a buyer’s market is under threat. However, if you know where to look, you may still find good deals here, and purchasers looking to flip property will find the situation more appealing due to the high foreclosure rate.
Beyond its oil patch in the southeast, New Mexico’s rural economy appears to be doomed to perpetual decline. However, things in Albuquerque appear to be improving more than they have in a while. So it’s a perfect time to buy if you’re looking to move to a lovely (albeit arid) corner of the planet.
The thriving knowledge economy is supported by the University of New Mexico and a number of significant health care organizations. Furthermore, the city is becoming a more well-liked travel destination due to its stunning surroundings and distinctive culture.
9. The city of Indianapolis, Indiana (Metro Area of Indianapolis, Carmel, and Anderson)
• The median home sale price in the city of Indianapolis is $223,323.
• Discount on Selling Price: 0%
• Change Over a Year: +1.8%
• Change Over Three Years: +42.8%
• Change Over Five Years: +66.7%
• 6. days is the median time on the market; 3.3% is the local unemployment rate
Known by many as “Indy,” Indianapolis is larger than most other Midwestern cities as well as Detroit, St. Louis, and Milwaukee. This is because a persistent annexation drive has combined numerous suburbs of Indianapolis into a single city-county administration.
That implies if you want to live in Indianapolis proper, you don’t have to shell out big bucks for an ostentatious downtown condo or hip row house. The city is home to a large number of recently constructed suburban-style homes on sizable lots, many of which allow single-level living. Additionally, they’re a great deal when compared to similar properties outside of more expensive cities.
It should be easy for you to locate work once you’re in the city. Numerous significant employers in the transportation sector, large health insurance providers like Anthem, pharmaceutical corporations like Eli Lilly and Company, and agribusinesses like Corteva all contribute to Indianapolis’ broad economy.
10. Hartford, Connecticut (Metro Area of Hartford, West Hartford, and East Hartford)
• $172,898 is the median home sale price (Hartford proper).
• Discount on Selling Price: 0%
• Yearly Variation: +18.3%
• Change Over Three Years: +38.3%
• Change Over Five Years: +102.2%
• Local Unemployment Rate: 4.0%; Median Time on Market: 9 days
Hartford, which lies close to Connecticut’s geographic center, serves as a center for the international insurance market. In addition to being the state capital, it is home to a substantial aerospace cluster led by Raytheon Technologies, which is heavily based in Farmington, not far away.
Compared to other deteriorating New England factory towns, the city is kept in better condition by its comparatively broad economic basis. A large portion of the housing stock in major city neighborhoods is from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which is ideal for knowledgeable do-it-yourselfers.
The metro average is boosted in part by higher property values in more recent, always desirable suburbs like Farmington, Bloomfield, and Vernon.
Hartford is a great option for those looking for a good deal because it’s one of the few metro areas on this list that hasn’t seen a lot of price growth over the last five years.
Hartford’s commuter belt includes the almost equal-sized cities of Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, home to Yale University. This makes it even more advantageous to establish a business in this still-affordable region of New England.
Factors Affecting the Affordability of Real Estate
Real estate agents categorize buyer’s markets and assist their customers in locating the greatest communities to live in using a variety of parameters. Every statistic provides information to potential buyers about the general health and affordability of a particular real estate market.
• Average house price. Whether homeownership is beyond the reach of middle-class homebuyers is determined by looking at the median home value of properties sold in the metro region.
• Offering a discount over the list price. Houses typically sell for less than what they were asked for in genuine buyer’s markets. A percentage and a negative sign are used to indicate areas where residences are sold at a discount. A plus sign and a percentage are used to indicate areas where homes sell for more money than their advertised prices. Homes have been selling for more than the asking price on a regular basis in recent years, even in buyer’s markets.
• A yearly alteration. A reliable measure of the overall price momentum of the market is the shift in the median home price over the previous 12 months. Prices that are rising quickly suggest that a buyer’s market may be coming to an end. Declining prices could be a sign of a persistent buyer’s market. By examining the overall one-, three-, and five-year price trends, you can prevent yourself from becoming trapped in a declining market. You’ll know you’re investing close to the bottom of the market when the rate of price decline looks to be slowing.
• A three-year interval. This graph indicates the overall strength of a buyer’s market by tracking price momentum over a longer time frame. Given that the average national home price has increased somewhat over the previous three years, markets experiencing a decline might be cheap, making them attractive targets for astute purchasers.
• A five-year transition. This longer-term measure illustrates the performance of home prices from the lowest points of the financial crisis and recession. Although the majority of buyer’s markets have experienced price declines throughout this time, markets that have had significant declines may be plagued by structural or economic problems that could impede any price recovery. Avoid these kinds of markets.
• The market’s median duration. This is the typical amount of time that passes in each market between the listing and closing dates of a property. Reduced numbers suggest a higher demand for housing. Time-on-market metrics are typically higher in buyer’s markets.
• The local jobless rate. The likelihood of job growth and general economic health in a metro area can be inferred from the unemployment rate. Strong economic indicators, such as high housing availability, low sales rates, and declining prices, suggest that these areas may soon turn the corner and present profitable prospects for purchasers who plan their acquisitions perfectly. (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provided this data.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics are up to date as of the first half of 2023. Redfin, Roofstock, and Zillow are the sources of all house pricing and sales information.
The affordability of housing isn’t the only thing that should guide your next action. Relocating should take into account a number of factors, including affordable housing, a thriving local economy, lots of recreational options, excellent schools, low crime rates, and plenty of work prospects.