A Master List of the Best Real Estate Investment Cities

☕️ 6 min read By Noah Blumberg

Instead of creating another list of the best cities to buy real estate, we looked at 22 existing lists produced over the last year and compiled their findings into a master list. Each list uses a different methodology. Some focus on cap rate, some care more about expected appreciation, and others focus more on rental market data. The variety makes our compiled list a rich overview accounting for all points of view. 57 cities received more than one endorsement and you'll see them all below.

The city named by the most lists is Tampa, Florida. In fact, 7 different cities in Florida were on more than one list. Considering that, on our list, we consolidate cities that are within 40 miles of the metro center, Florida holds an even more elevated place on our list than the numbers might suggest. Other states that appear several times are Ohio(7), Texas(5), North Carolina(3), Tennessee(3), and Colorado(3).

Why are Tampa, Phoenix, Dallas, and Raleigh/Durham at the top?

The top cities on our compiled list share the same advantages to varying degrees —job growth, population growth, projected home value appreciation, and demand for rentals. Job growth is the key driver for population growth and population growth will drive demand for housing which drives up prices and rents. An additional factor having the same effect as job growth is a city's attractiveness without regard for jobs. This could be amenities, natural environment, schools, etc.

Tampa has had exceptional population growth in recent years. Surprising growth in retail jobs due to an older population has drawn workers. Additionally, Tampa is a destination for retirees and lovers of warm weather and beaches. Beaches and warm weather draw visitors looking for short-term vacation rentals. With prices at or below the national average, Tampa is the top city for investors.

Phoenix has a strong built-in draw for visitors with great warm weather in winter, spring, and fall. It also has strong population growth from tech industry jobs and remote workers looking to take advantage of the less-than-average cost of living. Like Tampa, more people means more demand for housing and a more advantageous environment for owners of housing. Scottsdale is a Phoenix suburb whose properties we evaulated for their value recently.

Raleigh/Durham's population growth is also driven by jobs. With its vaunted research triangle built in and around major universities, the area is home to many science, medical, and tech jobs. Universities also provide some of the arts and culture events and amenities that a larger city would otherwise provide. The area is expected to continue to grow and currently there is not the supply problem prevalent in most of the rest of the country. So, particularly in the short term, Raleigh/Durham has opportunities to get a property for a relatively low price. Last Month, we looked a the best value properties in Durham.

Predictions for growing property values in the Dallas area are rampant in the lists we surveyed. Rents have exceeded pre-pandemic levels and should grow well into the future as people flock to the area for jobs in tech and a host of other industries. The relatively young population promises strong demand for housing for years to come. Dallas is another city where prices are still low relative to other places with big population growth, so it's listed for its great value when considering high rents and strong appreciation. Have a look at our recent list of the best value properties in nearby Frisco, TX.

The Best Cities for Real Estate Investment

  1. Tampa, FL/St. Petersburg, FL/Lakeland, FL
  2. Phoenix, AZ/Peoria, AZ/Chandler, AZ/Surprise, AZ
  3. Raleigh, NC/Durham, NC (tie)
  4. Dallas, TX/Arlington, TX/Mesquite, TX (tie)
  5. Charlotte, NC (tie)
  6. Jacksonville, FL (tie)
  7. Orlando, FL/Kissimmee, FL (tie)
  8. Austin, TX (tie)
  9. Boise, ID (tie)
  10. Atlanta, GA/Sandy Springs, GA (tie)
  11. Cleveland, OH (tie)
  12. Nashville, TN (tie)
  13. Birmingham, AL (tie)
  14. San Antonio, TX (tie)
  15. Detroit, MI (tie)
  16. Seattle, WA (tie)
  17. Columbus, OH (tie)
  18. Memphis, TN (tie)
  19. Kansas City, MO/Independence, MO (tie)
  20. Colorado Springs, CO (tie)
  21. Des Moines, IA (tie)
  22. Las Vegas, NV (tie)
  23. Indianapolis, IN (tie)
  24. Ft. Myers, FL/Lehigh Acres, FL (tie)
  25. Houston, TX (tie)
  26. Baltimore, MD (tie)
  27. Cincinnati, OH (tie)
  28. Salt Lake City, UT (tie)
  29. Dayton, OH (tie)
  30. Omaha, NE (tie)
  31. Columbia, SC (tie)
  32. Miami, FL (tie)
  33. Akron, OH (tie)
  34. Grand Rapids, MI (tie)
  35. Palm Bay, FL (tie)
  36. Youngstown, OH (tie)
  37. Virginia Beach, VA/Norfolk, VA (tie)
  38. New Orleans, LA (tie)
  39. Richmond, VA (tie)
  40. Port St. Lucie, FL (tie)
  41. El Paso, TX (tie)
  42. Spring Hill, FL (tie)
  43. San Diego, CA (tie)
  44. Knoxville, TN (tie)
  45. Providence, RI (tie)
  46. Chicago, IL (tie)
  47. Fayetteville, AR (tie)
  48. Philadelphia, PA (tie)
  49. Madison, WI (tie)
  50. Pittsburgh, PA (tie)
  51. Denver, CO (tie)
  52. Ft. Wayne, IN (tie)
  53. Pueblo, CO (tie)
  54. Jackson, MS (tie)
  55. Winston-Salem, NC/Greensboro, NC (tie)
  56. Toledo, OH (tie)
  57. Rochester, NY (tie)
  58. Tulsa, OK (tie)
  59. Oklahoma City, OK (tie)

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