Another Top-10 List — Best States for Homeownership 2016

When it comes to homeownership, or in this case, the ease thereof, not all states are equal. Once again I invoke the TINSTAANREM clause — There Is No Such Thing As A National Real Estate Market. Each real estate market is different. Ditto their underlying economies. This also applies to overall affordability, health and availability of and access to owner-occupied housing. Up front we must acknowledge that homeownership is not the best mode for everyone, nor is it achievable for all. Many individuals are better off as renters. At the same time, many renters today would be better off as homeowners.

To identify the best states for homeownership, SmartAsset examined nine factors, three of which included:

  • Foreclosure Rates
  • Burglary Rates
  • Property Tax Rates

They ranked all 50 states on items including median list price per square foot, annual change in home price per foot, home affordability, and the costs of property taxes and insurance.

So what are the best states, under these criteria, for homeownership in 2016? In addition to the data from SmartAsset, also included are the latest 12-month job growth rates for each of the states in the top-10. Obviously the job growth rate or lack-thereof does not impact these rankings much since Utah, with the 2nd best 12-month job growth rate of all 50 states (+3.18 percent) and Idaho (9th best at 2.84 percent), are included with North Dakota (worst at -3.31 percent) and Wyoming (next to worst at -3.08 percent).

7-29-16 table

Not a surprise was the absence of high-cost housing states – not even in the top-25 rankings — such as California, Massachusetts and New Jersey. My expectation for states that would have been listed in the top-25, however, included Florida, Arizona and Nevada. Perhaps prior high-foreclosure rates bumped them from contention.

To read the entire release and ranking of the ranked 25 states as reported by RISMedia click

What did impress me was that many of these states had an average cost per square foot of less than $150. That means that a 1,700 square home would cost $255,000. Now imagine a couple that earn $100,000 between the two of them (or one individually), and the multiple of income to home price is just 2.55. In almost every major developed country, that is a bargain. Why 1,700 square feet? That was the size of my home in Houston Texas 19 years ago when I first went to work for Stewart Title. While not a mansion, it was indeed comfortable.

Naturally, macro factors do not vary from state-to-state, such as the still-highly stringent lending hurdles facing today’s homebuyers.


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