Last week, NerdWallet compiled a ranking of the "Best Places for Homeownership," which analyzed select metrics in the 100 most populated metro areas in the U.S. to identify the top 10 small, mid-sized, and big cities for homeowners (of course, the small cities are still among the 100 most populated metros, so small is subjective). They set out to identify these cities by examining the following data: homeownership rate, and population growth. They also used median household income and monthly homeowner costs to measure cost of living, "to asses whether residents could live comfortably in the area." While these are all important metrics, they did not take into consideration the price of a new or existing home in these cities, which is quite high in Provo, Ogden-Clearfield, Charleston, S.C., and Sarasota, Fla. 

We've used Metrostudy data to pull the median closing price for both new and existing homes, as well as the average household income of new and existing buyers (of course, there is a difference between the two). Our interactive map below displays the median closing pricing price for new home buyers by default. Selecting the briefcase icon will switch the display to show the average household income data, and selecting "Existing" will allow you to view both metrics for those buyers as well. 

These mid-sized cities are the top 10 for homeownership, but are they great places to buy new?

To re-rank the top 10 for new home buyers, we used Metrostudy data to compare the median price for existing versus new homes and calculated how much more homebuyers in each market would pay for a new home based on median closing prices last year. The percent increase represents the additional cost based on the existing home median closing price and shows the difference in median price.

Compared to small cities, the gap in median price between existing and new homes starts much wider with our number one, Boise City, with a price hike of about one-third. But that gap is much more consistent market-to-market with none of them approaching new homes at double the price. Furthermore, median price gaps hold under $150,000 for new homes and cities like Des Moines, which has the highest percent increase at approximately 88%, still have a median closing price for new homes under $300,000. 

Builder-Metrostudy Remixed Rank:


1.  Boise City, Idaho


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $59,300


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 33.45%


     NerdWallet Rank: #6

2.  Charleston-North Charleston


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $69,700


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 35.87%


     NerdWallet Rank: #8

3.  Provo-Orem, UT


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $82,700


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 37.76%


     NerdWallet Rank: #3

4.  Columbia, S.C.


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $74,300


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 59.16%


     NerdWallet Rank: #5

5.  Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. 


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $78,100


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 63.14%


     NerdWallet Rank: #7

6.  Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C. 


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $87,800


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 65.23%


     NerdWallet Rank: #10

7.  Ogden-Clearfield, Utah


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $128,000


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 66.56%


     NerdWallet Rank: #2

8.  North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $116,900


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 68.08%


     NerdWallet Rank: #9

9.  Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.


     New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $88,100


     Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 68.56%


     NerdWallet Rank: #4

10.  Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa


       New vs. Existing Home Price Difference: $125,100


       Percent Jump Between Existing and New: 88.54%


       NerdWallet Rank: #1