These Cities Offer Buyers Best Value

July 12, 2018
Vase of flowers inside a home
Photo: Unsplash/Katherine Hanlon

Homebuyers looking to get the best bang for their buck may do best in Pittsburgh, Charleston, S.C., Plano, Texas, or Chicago. A new study ranks the 10 most undervalued cities in the country.

Using projected home values based on qualify of life metrics such as walkability, various weather measures, education levels, and more, SmartAsset compares the actual and projected values of a home in major U.S. cities, along with estimated savings to come up with value per square foot. Of the 10 best cities in 2018, seven were also in the top 10 in 2017. No city from the state of California made this year's or last year's top 10 ranking. As the report says, "The quality of life in California cities does not match the price residents pay to live there. Our model estimates that San Francisco is one of the best cities to live in [the state] with a projected value of $691 per square foot. However the actual value per square foot there is nearly $972 per square foot."

Pittsburgh tops the list as the most undervalued city in the country, according to our analysis. According to Zillow data, the average home in Pittsburgh is worth nearly $91 per square foot. However, our model suggests that Pittsburgh homes should be worth $266 per square foot. One reason Pittsburgh is valued so highly is its educated population. This city has the 50th-highest high school graduation rate and the 35th-highest percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree out of the 200 cities in the study. Overall our model suggests that living in Pittsburgh yields an estimated $175 per square foot in surplus value.

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