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Ten Best Real Estate Markets for Real Estate Investing

Ten Best Markets for Real Estate Investing

Gail and I have good friends that retired from editorial positions with ABC news. When we visited them in Maine a few years ago, I was impressed with Bob’s Library. A large portion of his library was full of “tell-all” books about Washington insiders.

“Gregg,” he said, “in Washington, when you publish a book, you have to be certain to include an index in the back with a list of all of the people that are even remotely mentioned in your book. This will be the list of your first buyers!” Bob joked about going into a Barnes and Noble when a new release came out, and all you would see if people sifting through the index for their name. If it was there, they bought it (next time I publish a book, I’m going to make the phone book the addendum).

It was kind of this way when I read a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Real-Estate Investing: the Best and Worst Markets,” by M.P. McQueen (Link here). The first thing I did was look to see if the markets I operate in were mentioned (they were). I subscribe to one of McQueen’s sources (local market monitor), but I always have trouble with these lists because, as I have always have said, all real estate is local (see my list of 25 real estate investing rules Here).

McQueen's article had two lists (and they came from Local Market Monitor): the ten best real estate markets and the ten worst real estate markets.

Here, according to McQueen, are the ten best markets for real estate investing:

10.          Jackson, MS

9.            Greenville, SC

8.            Oklahoma City, OK

7.            Winston-Salem, NC

6.            Little Rock, AR

5.            Lexington, KY

4             Knoxville, TN

3             Indianapolis, IN

2.            Huntsville, AL

1.            Durham, NC


These cities are chosen as the best for real estate investing because of the following factors:

·     “equilibrium home prices” – homes that are priced well in relation to local incomes, job growth, and population. The focus is on single family homes.

·     These areas are chosen because of the unlikelihood that prices will fall further

·     They are in places where income is growing moderately

·     Employment is stable because of the large amount of health care, education and government jobs and a small percentage of construction or financial services jobs


Here is a list of his ten worst markets for real estate investors:


10.          Cape Coral/Fort Myers, FL

9.            Naples/Marco Island, FL

8.            NorthPort/Bradenton/Sarasota, FL

7.            Deltona/Daytona Beach/Ormand Beach, FL

6.            Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, AZ

5.            Prescott, AZ

4.            Lakeland/Winterhaven, FL

3.            Orlando/Kissimee, FL

2.            Las Vegas/Paradise, NV

1.            Reno/Sparks, NV


Well, folks, the good news is that Cape Coral/Fort Myers is, according to McQueen anyway, the best of the worst. Florida, at least, didn’t make it to the number one spot.


A great deal of the rating comes from balancing income and jobs with home prices. They attempt to answer the question, "Based on local incomes, are homes affordable?" This really does not apply well to second home markets, and all of the markets in the ten worst are second home markets. Retires have low income, for example, but may have paid cash for their home. But, hey, there is no doubt that the markets that are listed as the worst have really tumbled. Are the “markets” at bottom? Well, maybe, but you are not buying a market, nor are you buying dozens of houses. You are buyng ONE, at least, at a time. What you really want to do is buy the A HOME that is at bottom and has reason to go up.


I had a client ask me, "Should I buy now or wait a few years?" My answer is this:


If you find the home or investment that works for you, but it now. Inventory and choices are beginning to deplete. But, if you do not find a good fit now, you will not be punished greatly by waiting, unless you want a unique home, say a waterfront home, golf home or penthouse, for example. If there is a large inventory of what you are looking for, make sure you are buying below current market prices. Use a Realtor with specialized knowledge of a market, or get the knowledge on your own.



Gregg Fous  800-439-1580