By Erik J. Martin, CTW Features
If you’re a millennial, chances are you are increasingly interested in purchasing a home if you haven’t bought one already. That’s because, being a thirtysomething or older, you’re likely eager to set down roots, establish a household of your own, and start building equity – especially if you are now married and/or have children.
Unlike previous generations, you’re also probably more open-minded about relocating out of state or to a new market, thanks largely to the increased ability to work from home since the pandemic began.
That begs an important question: What are the best markets for young families to consider purchasing a home? For answers, look to the recent findings of a study by Orchard, which ranked the following, in order: Jackson, Mississippi; Omaha, Nebraska; Columbia, South Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Augusta, Georgia; Atlanta; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Rochester, New York; and Toledo, Ohio. Orchard equally weighed several criteria in determining this list, including median home values divided by median household income; median daily air quality; daycare availability; percentage of homes with at least three bedrooms; the unemployment rate, and more.
Interestingly, most of the cities are in the South.
“All of these markets are great cities for young families because the cost of living is low compared to larger cities, and they are safer,” says Tomas Satas, CEO/founder of Chicago-headquartered Windy City HomeBuyer. “For anyone working remotely for a major city salary, it makes perfect sense to relocate to one of these places. You can save more, feel safer, and still have the convenience and amenities of a major metropolitan area.”
Erin Sykes, a real estate advisor and chief economist with Nest Seekers International in New York City, echoes those thoughts.
“These markets offer access to great schools, housing affordability, neighborhood amenities, parks and recreation areas, and viable employment for relocating families,” Sykes notes. “In Jackson, for example, you can get a lot of house for your money, and there are significant arts and cultural opportunities in the surrounding community. Meanwhile, in Raleigh, you have the only major technological city in the country with average home prices below the national average.”
Jonathan Owens, a Realtor in Cary, North Carolina, isn’t surprised to see many Southeast states making this list.
“As a Realtor in Raleigh over the last 13 years, this matches what I see day-to-day working with buyers relocating here. What makes Raleigh great for young families, other than job opportunities, is the lifestyle. The cost of living is still low. Childcare and schools from elementary through college are amazing. And it’s an active area for outdoor events, sports, and cultural activities,” explains Owens.
Tomas is particularly a fan of Columbia or Charleston.
“Either city is just a short drive away from the beach or a hike in the mountains. You get the best of both worlds plus the charm of the South in these two cities,” he continues.
Before committing to a new market relocation, it’s crucial to do your homework. That means carefully researching the cost of living, home values and price appreciations, quality of the schools, crime rates, resident diversity, neighborhood features, work commute, and political leanings of the area.
“Crime rate in surrounding neighborhoods is especially important. There are safe neighborhoods bordered by unsafe areas in every city, and that crime may bleed into the neighborhood you intend to move into,” cautions Satas.
Owens strongly recommends asking yourself key questions before choosing a new city.
“How is the economy, and if your job doesn’t work out can you find other opportunities in that market?” he asks. “How does the new community fit my family and its lifestyle? What else is around in the area for me to enjoy?”
Additionally, Sykes recommends researching access to public transportation, moving costs, and available housing stock.
“Make sure to investigate all the available schools, too, including the high schools, even if your children are still young,” Sykes adds.