6 of the Nation’s Best Places to Buy a House in 2018

Cardinal Financial May 1, 2018 | 12 min read
Thumbnail Image

Based on our criteria, these are the best places to buy a house in 2018.

It’s peak season for buying and selling homes. If you’re looking to make a home purchase this year, we’ve got some great cities for you to consider. Based on the typical categories of mortgage borrowers that we serve, we’ve selected six locations that we feel would best fit our customers’ home purchase needs.

These six locations meet our top three criteria for our audience: (1) Cost of living. This touches on home prices, affordability, and the health of the city’s economy. (2) Food and fitness. Here, we consider activities the city has to offer, restaurants, recreation, and community involvement. (3) Schools and crime. Where school ratings are high, crime levels are usually low—and when a neighborhood has good schools and is safe, the home values in that area tend to be higher. With our criteria selected and our consumer data, here’s six of the best places to buy a house in 2018.

1. Charleston, SC

Voted the South’s Best City for the second year in a row by Southern Living, Charleston is the perfect town for a home buyer who’s ready to live life laid back. This town has all the southern charm and rich history you’d expect from a South Carolina port city. It’s got that small, close-knit community feel that’s characteristic of so many southern towns. But not so close that you can’t escape to your own personal retreat.

In more than one sense, Charleston is the perfect spot to retire. With its museums and activities, there’s so much to do and see in the historic downtown district. (An added bonus you can take advantage of when the grandkids visit.) Plus, Charleston’s becoming a hot spot for many young entrepreneurs. And with their fresh take on work-life balance and the way they value hassle-free service, they’re casually infusing this town with an air of convenience. And it’s influencing more businesses to do the same.

The great outdoors

When you’re done enjoying all the food, drink, and recreation Chucktown has to offer, take a walk along one of Charleston’s many rivers back to your little slice of heaven called home. Or head to any one of the 20 championship golf courses and resorts in the Charleston area and practice your putt. If you’re not so concerned with what’s going on in the world of social media and you’re ready to relax in the warm sun by the water or on the green, Charleston might just be the place for you to make your next home purchase.

With their fresh take on work-life balance and the way they value hassle-free service, young entrepreneurs are casually infusing Charleston with an air of convenience, and it’s influencing more businesses to do the same.

2. Columbus, OH

Consistently named one of the best cities for Millennials to live in America, Columbus is a fast-growing metropolitan in the Midwest that’s rapidly gaining a following. It’s got all the amenities you could ask for at an affordable, low cost of living. That’s why so many residents love Columbus: it’s got that big city feel without the big city cost.

To complement the hustle and bustle of this cool, fast-paced city, it’s incredibly well connected with public transit options to help you get around town by car, bike, or bus. And if you’re looking to unplug for a bit, grab your sneakers and yoga mat. Then head to any one of the city’s thousands of acres of outdoor recreation space. When you’re done getting some fresh air and exercise, dive into the nighttime foodie scene and meet up with your friends for happy hour in Downtown or Franklinton.

More to offer

One of the best things about Columbus is its start-up soul. It’s a hot spot for young entrepreneurs who are just getting their feet wet. Many are launching creative initiatives or planting new start-up companies. Columbus is a big supporter of small businesses, and locally owned shops get the recognition of a Made in CBUS seal of approval. Plus, as the home of The Ohio State University, Columbus is a college town too, making it a prime location for many college grads to stay put, get a job, and even start a family. And as if all of that isn’t enough, we’ve got one more reason to buy a house in Columbus: though it’s always moving and changing, it’s still got that down-home midwestern friendliness that always makes people feel connected and esteemed.

3. Plano, TX

This Texas town made our list of best places to buy a house because it’s got all the great qualities of an established neighborhood that’s also brimming with potential. It’s the perfect opportunity for anyone whose lifelong goal is to own a home. It’s been rated by Niche as the #1 Best City to Buy a House in America, the #2 City with the Best Public Schools in America, and the #3 Best City to Raise a Family in America, making Plano a prime location to plant your family and put down roots. And other people agree! In fact, last year, Texas experienced the largest numeric population growth of any state in the U.S. Numbers don’t lie. The Census Bureau reported the state’s population increased from 25.1 million in 2010 to an overwhelming 28.3 million in just seven years!

One of the factors that may contribute to Texas’s steady population growth is that its housing economy survived the 2008 crisis. Homes in Plano are still very affordable and the State of Texas offers multiple down payment assistance programs to help renters, single parents, and other aspiring first-time buyers make their life’s biggest investment and achieve their dream of homeownership. If you’ve faced financial hardship and coming up with a substantial down payment hasn’t been easy for you, Texas has the resources to help you afford a home, and Plano is the place to do it.

Convenience is key

Plano is also a great location. It’s just a quick, 30-minute drive from the thriving Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex. Which makes it the perfect spot for families who want to be close to all the amenities, excitement, and convenience that the big city has to offer without the noise. All in all, Plano is a place where busy, working parents can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that they can enjoy the convenience of face-to-face interactions with local business owners and feel confident that their kids are getting a great education. All while owning their own home!

Texas offers down payment assistance programs to help renters, single parents, and other aspiring first-time buyers make their life’s biggest investment and achieve their dream of homeownership.

4. Kansas City, MO

This one goes out to all you tech-happy city slickers. The fourth city on our list of best places to buy a house in 2018 is a growing hub. It’s well known for its love for sports, barbecue, and technology. Right in the middle of the country stands Kansas City. And its central location is just one of many selling points.

As the first city in America to get Google Fiber, Kansas City is a tech guru’s dream. Picture yourself working from home in your high-rise condo with gigabit connectivity. The average American family doesn’t have enough devices to need even half of the connection that’s available to residents of Kansas City! But if you’re super tech savvy and looking to push the boundaries of speed and technology to make your house a smart home. . . . KC should definitely be on your list of cities to consider for your next home purchase.

Balance work and play

Aside from technological advancements, the home of the Royals provides the perfect balance between work and play. It’s got an international airport with flights just three hours away from business ventures you may have on either coast. When you’re home to unwind, there’s no shortage of bars, breweries, and barbecue joints to hit up with your buddies. Or join local sports fanatics and root for your favorite team—whether it’s baseball, football, soccer, or even NASCAR. And if that’s not enough to entice you, check out the famed Power and Light District. It’s a crowd favorite for upscale shopping and entertainment. It’s all part of everything there is to offer in Kansas City.

5. Fayetteville, AR

U.S. News & World Report rated Fayetteville the #5 Best Place to Live and the #8 Most Affordable Place to Live in the U.S. in 2018. CBS News MoneyWatch named it the #4 Cheapest Place to Live in the U.S. And Fayetteville was named on Money’s list of Best Places to Live in Every State for Arkansas. Need we say more? Maybe not, but we will anyway. Not far from the Ozark National Forest lies this sweet little historic town. It’s home to roughly 84,000 happy and healthy residents. In Fayetteville, you’ll find all kinds of life’s little joys. Small-town charm, history, great schools, lots of activities for the whole family, and so much more. Let’s dive in.

One thing you can’t miss about Fayetteville is its affordability. It’s recognized by multiple sources as an affordable, low-cost-of-living place to settle down, and online statistics and home listings confirm that home prices in the area are relatively affordable (with a median home price of $198,200, we can’t argue).

You’ll never be bored

There’s lots to do in Fayetteville. Residents love the arts. So, on any given day, you might see the Walton Arts Center or TheaterSquared packed with patrons. Health-conscious moms rejoice at Fayetteville’s plethora of healthy dining options. And their ever-popular farmers’ market, which is conveniently open seven months out of the year. History buffs get excited over the town’s original architecture, especially University of Arkansas’s “Old Main.” And, as U of A’s flagship campus, it’s a popular spot for college kids too. There’s plenty to do in town, but you’re never too far from any of the surrounding parks, trails, and lakes.

This definitely isn’t your metro city. It’s that small, familiar, community-centric town that has options for everyone. So if you’re a busy mom juggling kids and work or you’re a retiree looking to hike, fish, and canoe in the afternoon, Fayetteville might be the best place for you to buy a house in 2018.

If you’re a busy mom juggling kids and work or you’re a retiree looking to hike, fish, and canoe in the afternoon, Fayetteville might be the best place for you to buy a house in 2018.

6. Charlotte, NC

OK, we’re a little partial. But Charlotte’s definitely got a spot on our list of best places to buy a house in 2018. And actually, it’s number five on Business Insider’s list of cities everybody’s migrating to. That’s probably because of all the amazing job opportunities Queen City has to offer. This southern city is bursting with career potential in fields like finance, banking, and nursing. And to support its speedy growth, it’s becoming very well connected, with public transportation like the Lynx Light Rail connecting people from Uptown to South Boulevard.

Speaking of Uptown (which most cities would call Downtown). . . . If you’re looking to move near one of the country’s most epic food scenes, this is the place to be. Try everything from Brazilian to Greek, Mediterranean to Italian, and so much more—day or night! You can dine in, order from home via Postmates, or grab food to go at any of Charlotte’s many food trucks and take a stroll through the eclectic arts district NoDa. And what would a city’s nightlife be without beer? There’s nearly 30 breweries in the Charlotte area alone and more are expected to crop up in the next few years. So whether you’re craving some tapas, wine, and girl time, or throwing back a few brews with your buddies, Charlotte offers a food-and-drink experience that can’t be beat!

Location is everything

We’ve heard it said time and again: location is everything. And Charlotte is no exception! When life in the city gets just a little too busy, it’s easy to get away for the weekend. Take a short drive west and stay in charming mountain spots like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Asheville, or drive a few hours east and bask in the sun on North Carolina’s 322-mile stretch of ocean shoreline. You might say it’s the best of both worlds.

But wait—there’s more. Head west from Charlotte and you’ll run into prime territory for outdoor recreation, like the Catawba River and the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Here, Queen City locals relax and go tubing down the river. Or they go kayaking to get in some much-needed cardio. It’s all this and so much more—not to mention Charlotte’s affordable home prices—that put this amazing city on our list of best places to buy a house in 2018.

With so many cities to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down the best places to buy a house in America. But Cardinal Financial always has our customer in mind, and we’re constantly doing research to meet your home buying needs. So whether you’re a busy mom, retired dad, young professional, or working bachelor, Cardinal Financial’s got you covered.

What cities are on your list of best places to buy a house in 2018? Tag us on social media and let us know!

Like what you’re reading?

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of the blog and more in your inbox every quarter.
Share this: twitter linkedin facebook