Where's the best place to buy a home while growing your career? Read on to discover our list of the top 10 U.S. cities for young professionals.
Prime places for young professionals
What makes the perfect city for a young professional?
From affordable housing to job and networking opportunities, there are many factors to consider when deciding where to live and work. Luckily, we did some of the leg work for you.
Below, we've determined the 10 best cities for young professionals who want to buy a home. We analyzed data from the 100 most populous U.S. cities to see which offers the most affordable housing, most job opportunities, best starting salary, most happy hours, and youngest populations.
It's worth noting that the factors used to analyze and rank cities were chosen within the context of young professionals looking to buy a home. There are many other factors — such as crime rate, weather, proximity to family, etc. — that should be considered to ensure you find the best fit.
Read on to discover the best cities, or jump forward to learn about:
Best and worst cities overall
Jersey City tops the chart for the best overall city for young professionals to buy a home. With its proximity to New York City and its vast network of smaller cities, it exposes young professionals to a wide array of career possibilities with slightly lower housing prices than the Big Apple.
Albuquerque ranked as the worst city for young professionals, primarily because of its lack of job opportunities. The city, while a beautiful destination for recreation, lacks ample economic opportunity. The average starting salary is among the 10 lowest in the country.
Best and worst cities for affordable housing
The average cost of a home varies significantly in different parts of the country. When you're thinking about buying a home, you'll likely want to find somewhere affordable so you can stay on top of mortgage payments as well as the other costs of homeownership. Below are the 10 most and least expensive places to buy a home in the U.S.
Best and worst cities to meet other young people
Another thing to consider when deciding where to buy a home is the average age of the residents in a city. If you're a young professional, you'll likely want to connect with others in a similar stage of life.
Best and worst cities for job opportunities and salary
Nearly 90% of millennials say they would move for the right company or role. If you're looking for a job out of college, you may find yourself moving to a city where there are more job opportunities. An abundance of entry-level and associate jobs is part of what makes a city more appealing for young professionals.
The cities with the fewest job opportunities — like El Paso, Lubbock, and Laredo in Texas — also offer the lowest starting salaries. The highest starting salaries are in California cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, likely because of the higher cost of living.
The average price of a home in San Francisco is about $1.3 million, while only $130,000 in El Paso. But despite the large difference in cost of homeownership between San Francisco and El Paso, the difference between the cities' starting salaries is only about $10,000.
Restaurants and bars also play a big role in a city's professional scene. Happy hours are great opportunities to get to know your coworkers or network with other professionals. Those who prefer not to drink can look for happy hours that offer discounts on appetizers, or ones that feature live music. This is a great way to explore a new city and take advantage of all it has to offer.
While many young grads flock to big cities like Los Angeles and New York City, the extremely high cost of housing makes these cities less realistic destinations for those looking to buy a home. Starting salaries and number of job prospects may not justify the high costs of living.
The proximity of lesser-known cities to larger ones — such as Irving to Dallas or Buffalo to New York City — gives young professionals the best of both worlds: access to jobs and networking combined with affordable housing access. This way, you can enjoy all the benefits of big-city life without the hefty price tag.
In order to determine the best cities for young professionals to buy a home, we compared a sample of the top 100 most populated U.S. cities. Our samples excluded cities immediately surrounding metro areas. We rated each city on a weighted scale consisting of these five factors:
- Median entry-level salary – 30 points
- Number of entry-level and associate jobs – 30 points
- Median home price – 20 points
- Median age of city population – 10 points
- Number of happy hours – 10 points
Keep reading to discover more tips for young professionals looking to buy a home.
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Sources: World Population Review | ZipRecruiter | Zillow Home Value Index | Forbes | RescueTime | Stanford University | Randstad | U.S. News and World Report
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