Americans are looking for cities with a low cost of living, and strong economies. The Wall Street Journal has run the numbers and found the top 10 cities in what it calls The WSJ/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index Summer 2022. The cities on the WSJ’s list are nearly all in red states, most of them are in my Super States, and the one standout, the Visalia-Porterville area in California, is in what is essentially a red island in the state’s sea of blue. The WSJ’s Nicole Friedman reports:
Low-cost cities with strong economies fared well in the second quarter as high prices and rising mortgage rates caused a swift slowdown in the housing market.
As remote or hybrid work schedules have become more common, households are willing to relocate for cheaper housing or a better quality of life. That migration helped push small, affordable markets to the top of the The Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index in the second quarter.
The index identifies the top metro areas for home buyers seeking an appreciating housing market, a strong local economy and appealing lifestyle amenities. News Corp, parent of the Journal, operates Realtor.com.
Overall, existing-home sales have dropped for five straight months. After two years of booming sales and skyrocketing prices, declining affordability and economic uncertainty have pushed some buyers out of the housing market. More sellers are cutting their list prices, and price growth is expected to slow in the coming months.
Elkhart, Ind., a metro area of about 206,000 people, was the top-ranked market for the quarter by the index, followed by Burlington, N.C.; Johnson City, Tenn.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Billings, Mont. The top 20 cities in the ranking have an average population size of about 400,000.
“All of the top 20 markets in our index fall into one of two categories: affordable or outdoorsy,” said George Ratiu, manager of economic research at Realtor.com. “For many young professionals, especially those with growing families, the cost premium of living in a city like San Francisco or New York has lost its allure during the pandemic.”
The Top 10 metro-areas on the WSJ’s list are:
- Elkhart-Goshen, IN
- Burlington, NC
- Johnson City, TN
- Fort Wayne, IN
- Billings, MT
- Raleigh, NC
- Rapid City, SD
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
- Topeka, KS
- Visalia-Porterville, CA
Action Line: Do you live in one of these places? If you’re looking for a better America, maybe one of these cities is the place for you. Start your search with my Super States. If you want guidance and encouragement along the way, click here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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