For many people interested in purchasing a home, the biggest challenge is the lack of available inventory in the area they want to live in. Low inventory drives prices up, and can make finding a suitable home difficult, even for those who have the means to afford one.
In many cases, the regions with the best job opportunities are also the places with the most competitive housing markets, leading to vicious cycles of rising prices that spread into outlying suburbs. For people looking to buy their first home, especially younger people who haven’t firmly established themselves in their careers, or had time to build up savings, this can be extremely frustrating, and can make home ownership seem like a far-off or unattainable goal.
There is good news, however. Despite this year’s more than 12% decline in available housing inventory (the biggest such decline in the last five years), and the fact that inventory has been shrinking steadily over the past two years, there are cities in the United States, mainly in the South and Midwest, where inventory has been growing, and home prices have consequently remained stable. According to the online real estate brokerage Redfin, housing inventory in the following eight metropolitan areas increased by 13% over the past year.
While Allentown may be a smaller market, it is the third most populous city in Pennsylvania, with significant recent growth in its transportation and services industries, and an ongoing downtown revitalization project. The median home price in Allentown is $186,000.
The capital city of Texas, Austin has a reputation as a diverse and unique city with a very active artistic and cultural scene, making it an attractive option for millennial buyers. The city is also host to a number of high tech companies. The median price for a home in Austin is $290,000.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Baton Rouge is the capital and second largest city in Louisiana, and has seen rapid growth in recent years, with many employment opportunities offered by the state government as well as the oil and chemical industries. The median home price in Baton Rouge is $205,000.
The economic center of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Dallas is a large and diverse city that’s home to many corporate headquarters, and boasts the most shopping centers per capita in the entire United States. The median price of a home here is $279,000.
The center of the country music industry, Nashville is the capital and largest city in Tennessee. Freddie Mac recently declared Nashville the “hottest housing market” in the country, as well as one of the fastest-growing economies. The median home price in Nashville is $268,000.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Widely celebrated for its significance as the birthplace of jazz music and its unique cultural identity, New Orleans continues to recover, build, and grow from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The median home price currently stands at $202,200.<br><br>
Raleigh, North Carolina
In recent years, Raleigh has frequently received high ranks for its quality of life and business climate by a number of major publications. It anchors one point of North Carolina’s “Research Triangle” of universities, medical centers, and high tech companies. The median price of a home in Raleigh is $265,000.
St. Louis, Missouri
A hub of manufacturing, transportation, and tourism, St. Louis has undergone significant urban renewal, and is home to a burgeoning medical and pharmaceutical industry. It’s the most affordable place on this list, with a median home price of $168,000.
Today's housing market contains more than one diamond in the rough. There are excellent opportunities across the nation, and a variety of loan options for every buyer type.