Best cities to buy a home in 2012

Zillow analyzed income and home-price data to come up with a list of cities where now is a good time to buy. We've also got a lot of cities where it's still a buyers market.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jun 7, 2012 11:04AM

Grand Rapids, Mich.

©Panoramic Images/Getty ImagesThis year's mixed real-estate statistics serve to remind us that, yes, all real estate is local.


Former basket-case cities such as Phoenix and Miami are rising from the ashes, while cities such as Atlanta that initially didn't suffer precipitous drops in property values are continuing to see home prices drop.


Zillow looked at several key factors and came up with a list of the places to buy a home in 2012, plus a list of the cities where you can afford to bargain.


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To create its list, the real-estate portal looked at housing prices compared with local incomes, home value trends, unemployment rates and whether buying makes more sense than renting.

The top city in Zillow's Best Places to Buy in 2012 was Grand Rapids, Mich., where home values have risen 4.8% since last spring and unemployment has fallen. The median home value in Grand Rapids is $108,000, making homes affordable on the city's median income.

The next two cities were Phoenix, where Zillow predicts home values will rise 6.5% this year, and Pittsburgh. "Phoenix is probably the best example of a hard-hit market that is showing signs of recovery," says Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.


The other cities identified as the best places to buy in 2012 were:

  • Oklahoma City
  • Rochester, N.Y.
  • Dallas
  • Memphis, Tenn
  • Dayton, Ohio

To identify the cities where buyers have the upper hand, Zillow looked at listings with price cuts, median price cuts, foreclosure resales and the difference between list price and sale price.

These are the cities where you are likely to benefit from negotiating on price, but remember that these are averages and that any individual home could be well-priced at listing. Zillow's Best Places to Bargain for a Home are:

  • Rockford, Ill.
  • Punta Gorda, Fla.
  • Cleveland
  • Chicago
  • Sarasota, Fla.
  • New Haven, Conn.
  • Philadelphia
Jun 7, 2012 3:24PM
after reading much of the post on here, i would lie to share some
Small town USA,  country living,  is ones best bet . . .   Your choice?  
Jun 7, 2012 3:06PM

Since the assassination of President Kennedy,

International banksters control the politicians, the dumb downed American sheeple squabble about issues not related to, illegals taking all jobs that used to be done by American middle Class. workers. The allowance for everything that used to be manufactured right here in places like Detroit, are now made in China. While voters are choosing between Obama and Romney, who are owned by the banksters, and will do nothing to change the inevitable dismantling of what is left of the American Middle Class.

Just so you know, there isn't going to be a recovery, things are only going to get worse, unless we try to educate each other by word of mouth, for the media is owned by the same banksters, and they will not recognize any legitimate person who truly advocates a change. Do you realize that these international banks are destroying America?


Jun 7, 2012 2:57PM

Because of low interest rates, homes in desirable locations continue to sell well. If you purchased a home during the "bubble," your best time to have done so would have been in the Fall of year 2004--that was the approximate date immediately before prices began heading into unrealistic and uncharted territory.


I bought my current home at the right moment. My home's value has flexed a bit, but overall, has remained settled at about what I payed for it.


I'm not bragging. I was just lucky.

Jun 7, 2012 2:45PM
I wish I had a house at the bubble era, I could've sold it at 300% of what it was worth to a fool like you :):):):)
Jun 7, 2012 2:42PM
I just bought a home in northern california and there were from 12-20 bids on each house i trried to buy.Price range $150,000, i think mostly due to low amount of houses in that price.
Jun 7, 2012 2:38PM
U won't hear it on Zillow or anywhere else..but local and state governments will add a greater property tax burden and other fees to single family home ownership...the Eisenhower era suburban homes in the $200K-$400K range are dinosaurs...which the increasingly  blue collar and minority population cannot afford due to decreased job opportunities and reverse Social Darwinism!!
Jun 7, 2012 2:36PM
I hate to bust everyone's bubble here (no pun intended).  But, a lot of the places in question only appreciated in value due to a lot of speculation.  Since this speculation was caused by the cheap loans which are never coming back,  I seriously doubt they are going to recover as much as people think.
Jun 7, 2012 2:35PM

@ Greg,

The black gangs... Really?!!!  Grow up and find Jesus.  I could easily say the uneducated, white, trailer trash folks with the double wide on 10 acres and rebel flag in their front yard near my home are bringing my property value down.  However, that's not a neighborly/patriotic outlook.  Greg, what are you doing to positively affect the "black gang" situation?  If you're blaming the politicians, run for office or just vote and shut-up.  The fact that you end up on the subject of guns from a housing market article shows your level of thinking.

Jun 7, 2012 2:33PM
Best place to buy is Lacey, Washington.   You can grow really good weed here.  The rain never seems to stop, so you won't have to water your lawn.   And the parks all have bags for picking up dog dirt.   Best place to buy Lacey, Washington.   And now you can have three chickens but no roosters.
Jun 7, 2012 2:33PM
hello I am looking at Sacramento living in Las can buy for is possible- you just have to get out and look. The people were really
Jun 7, 2012 2:13PM
Plenty of homes in Chicago!!! The black gangs are turning Chicago into a kill zone!!!!! And Gov. Potato Head and Rahm don't want us to have guns to defend ourselves like the other 49 states do!!!  Guess what??? We are carrying and we will use our guns to protect what is ours!!!
Jun 7, 2012 2:09PM
I bought a home in August 2011, and it has risen in value by 10%.  This is in Chandler, AZ.
Jun 7, 2012 2:08PM
On the same day,  MSN runs an article declaring the the Phoeniix market will tank further throughout 2012-13,  and then this article declaring basically the opposite.
These experts don't know what they are talking about.

Jun 7, 2012 1:53PM
Until people who are upside down get right side up or get out from under someway and we no longer look at a home as a short term investment and look at a home as a some a place to live the market will languish. We still see TV programs about flipping houses, that is not what we should be encouraging buyers to do.
Jun 7, 2012 1:48PM

They have been saying "Now is a good time to buy" every since the bubble popped in 2008!


The prices keep dropping, so I would say "now is a good time to wait until you can afford a house and we have reached the bottom of the depression (Oh, I mean recession)!"

Jun 7, 2012 1:35PM

Your home prices speak for themselfs !!!

Jun 7, 2012 1:19PM
Teresa is in "lala land".  I don't believe much of anything that I read, anywhere, these days....I remember her "spin" about all of the condos that were now occupied in Miami.....she failed to mention that most of these condos were rentals because people were not and still are not buying.  Teresa, I think you should join the National Realtor Assn.  Your articles have as much creditability as theirs!
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