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The best cities for homebuyers in America, where houses are relatively cheap, cost of living is lower, and schools are good

Lincoln, NebraskaLincoln, Nebraska, is among the best cities for homebuyers in the US.

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  • Neighborhood ranking site Niche has determined the best cities to buy a house in the US in 2023.
  • Housing costs versus incomes, public school quality, and cost of living factored into the ranking.
  • The Houston, Texas, suburb of The Woodlands ranked No. 1, followed by Overland Park, Kansas.

The best places to live come at a cost: they’re often expensive, with home prices at or above the national median. 

But a new list of the best cities to buy homes takes some of the financial headache out of the equation by ranking locations based not only on quality of life factors like good schools and a low cost of living but also by prioritizing places where housing prices are in step with incomes. The upshot: some of these cities may be pricier, but they’re worth it.

From on-the-map locales in Indiana to zip codes in Texas, neighborhood and school ranking site Niche has honed in on the best cities for homebuyers in 2023

In order to compile the list Niche graded each place by using data and aggregate surveys. Some of the factors it considered were income versus typical home values, cost of living, public school ranking, property tax, crime, and safety. 

Here are the 15 best cities to buy a home in America right now, according to Niche.

 

15. Clarksville, Tennesseea butterfly sits on a flower in Clarksville, TennesseeA butterfly sits on a flower in Clarksville, Tennessee.

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Population, per the US Census: 170,597

Median home value: $172,700

Median household income: $58,853

Resident review: One current resident says that the schools are great here and dining options are too. They also said there are a lot of affordable homes for sale. “Clarksville is an amazing place to raise a family,” they wrote. 



14. Lincoln, NebraskaSkyline of Lincoln, NebraskaLincoln, Nebraska.

John Coletti/Getty Images

Population, per the US Census: 292,657

Median home value: $193,800

Median household income: $62,566

Resident review: One current resident said they moved here for college and never left. They love its music, arts, businesses, and small-town feel. “The best kept secret is that it is actually a wonderfully unique place to live,” they wrote. It’s cold in the winter but “we can’t all live in Hawaii.”



13. Cedar Rapids, IowaCedar RapidsCedar Rapids, Iowa.

Jonathannsegal/Shutterstock

Population, per the US Census: 136,467

Median home value: $149,000

Median household income: $63,170

Resident review: One current resident said that there are tons of dining options and events throughout the city — and it’s a great place to raise a family. They wrote that the city is “doing some work to help climate change but not enough” and think that “overall it’s a fantastic place.” 



12. Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaThe Pittsburgh skylineThe Pittsburgh skyline.

Steven Adams/Getty Images

Population, per the US Census: 400,431

Median home value: $147,600

Median household income: $54,306

Resident review: One current resident said that Pittsburgh has the best of both worlds: city life not far from the country. “You’re in the city but seconds later you’re immersed in lush, quiet green spaces,” they wrote. The downside? Winters are harsh, they said, and potholes are rampant. But, “all-in-all, I find my city to be friendly, kind, welcoming, and inclusive,” they said. 



11. South Bend, IndianaSouth Bend IndianaSouth Bend, Indiana.

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Population, per the US Census: 103,353

Median home value: $95,500

Median household income: $46,002

Resident review: One current resident said that South Bend — which borders the University of Notre Dame — has an abundance of activities from NCAA Division 1 sports games to ice skating. “South Bend is a mix of the past in a growing future,” they said. “Living in a place like this is both fun and adventurous.” 



10. Lexington, Kentuckylexington kentuckyA house in Lexington, Kentucky.

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Population, per the US Census: 321,793

Median home value: $216,800

Median household income: $61,526

Resident review: One current resident said that Lexington, Kentucky, has it all: great dining, hotels, derby parties, sports, housing, and more. “Lexington, Kentucky, is ever-growing, artistic, industrial, and community-minded,” they wrote. 



9. Columbia, Marylandcolumbia marylandColumbia, Maryland.

KhanIM/Shutterstock

Population, per the US Census: 104,681

Median home value: $399,000

Median household income: $113,592

Resident review: One current resident said there are a lot of opportunities to be active here. “I love Columbia’s outreach and wonderful ways to enjoy Maryland’s nature,” they wrote. 



8. Plano, TexasPlano, TexasPlano, Texas.

Gary Fink/iStock/Getty Images

Population, per the US Census: 588,253

Median home value: $358,100

Median household income: $99,729

Resident review: One former resident said that Plano is a great option for those who want to live near a big city like Dallas without actually living in a city. “Almost everything is very easily accessible and it’s just a short drive to get to all of the fun in the Dallas area,” they wrote. “Downtown Plano has a small city-life feel, and I think it’s absolutely adorable.”



7. Fort Wayne, IndianaFort Wayne IndianaFort Wayne, Indiana.

Deb Perry/Getty Images

Population, per the US Census: 265,974

Median home value: $130,700

Median household income: $53,978

Resident review: One resident that was born and raised in California, and has lived in Fort Wayne for 10 years, said they own a local business and are raising their three children there. They love how the city is growing, and how affordable it is.

“Overall my experience has been fantastic due to the very manageable cost of living, the incredible people I have made friends with, and the family-oriented environment,” they wrote. 



6. Sioux Falls, South DakotaSioux Falls, South DakotaSioux Falls, South Dakota.

Sopotnicki/Shutterstock

Population, per the US Census: 196,528

Median home value: $218,600

Median household income: $66,761

Resident review: One current resident said Sioux Falls is her favorite place in South Dakota. “Sioux Falls has certainly been a joy,” she wrote. “The people here are kind” and “the food options keep getting better every year.” 



5. Huntsville, AlabamaHuntsville, Alabama skyline.Huntsville, Alabama.

RobHainer/Getty Images

Population, per the US Census: 216,963

Median home value: $194,500

Median household income: $60,959

Resident review: One resident who was born and raised in Huntsville said that the city has grown and evolved over the past five years, citing that it’s increasingly great for families and there are a ton of new activities for everyone to enjoy.

“I used to think I would eventually move away from Huntsville to a more connected and more entertaining city,” they wrote. “But with all the recent changes I see myself really settling into my hometown.” 



4. Rochester, Minnesotarochester minnesotaAn aerial view of Rochester, Minnesota.

Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

Population, per the US Census: 121,465

Median home value: $236,400

Median household income: $79,159

Resident review: A current resident said that Rochester has a small-town feel “no matter what neighborhood or business you choose to visit.” They added, “It is becoming a cultural hub for a cascade of different cultures and events that ensure anyone who visits or stays has a wonderful time.”



3. Naperville, Illinoisnaperville illinois best cities to live us 2019Naperville, Illinois.

Joe Hendrickson/Shutterstock

Population, per the US Census: 149,104

Median home value: $433,400

Median household income: $135,772

Resident review: A current resident called Naperville “one of the greatest US suburbs.” They wrote that the public school system is strong and prepared them well for higher education and life after high school in general. They added that Naperville has a vibrant downtown area, many local businesses, and lots of parks to visit. 



2. Overland Park, KansasOverland Park KansasOverland Park, Kansas.

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Population, per the US Census: 197,106

Median home value: $314,500

Median household income: $92,769

Resident review: One former resident, who wrote that they were part of a mixed-race family, said they “appreciated the diversity of the area.” On top of that, they said that Overland Park has tons for families to do and its schools are great. 

1. The Woodlands, TexasThe Woodlands, TexasThe Woodlands, Texas.

Prince Pazziuagan/Shutterstock

Population, per the US Census: 114,436

Median home value: $390,800

Median household income: $130,011

Resident review: One current resident wrote that The Woodlands is “honestly, the perfect place to live,” though they did note that living well there will likely cost a lot. Still, they wrote that if you can afford the price tag, “it will give you access to many good public schools, a safe neighborhood, and multiple job opportunities in the area.”



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