Best Places to Pursue Health and Real Estate Wealth

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9. NASHVILLE-DAVIDSON-MURFREESBORO-FRANKLIN, TENN.: Wide Open Spaces

By Christine DiGangi

Want to live in a healthy community with great home-price appreciation? West of the Mississippi is a good place to look. That's where the top markets in RealtyTrac's 2013 Health & Wealth Special Report are located, with the exception of an area in Tennessee and one in North Carolina.

"A lot of those Western markets, especially the Mountain West, seem to be known for healthy living," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. "So we weren't too surprised by that."

The analysis took Local Market Monitor's 22 best markets for appreciation and incorporated 10 health factors from RealtyTrac data. The study also looked at the unemployment rates and foreclosure discounts in those areas, and the combination of these data determined the top 12 markets for good health and building real estate wealth.

So if you're looking for a good place to invest in real estate and your health, you may want to start with the Top 12 areas listed in the slideshow below, illustrated by AOL Real Estate with newly listed homes there:

TOP 12 MARKETS FOR HEALTH AND REAL ESTATE WEALTH:
13 PHOTOS
12 Top Markets Matching Health With Wealth
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Best Places to Pursue Health and Real Estate Wealth

Simultaneously spacious and cozy, this seemingly sedate Dakota home has a wild streak of the West inside, including a secret hideout. See more photos with the listing.
 

See more homes for sale in Sioux Falls

Here's what's considered great on the Plains these days. See more more photos with the listing.

See more homes for sale in Cheyenne.

The historic Roysdon House wears its age proudly, but lightly. See more photos with the listing.

See more homes for sale in Billings.

This solid, spacious and commanding home in Franklin is long on Southern accents and comforts. See more photos with the listing

See more homes for sale in the Nashville area.

This venerable 1894-vintage home blends old and new in sometimes whimsical ways. See more photos with the listing.

See more homes for sale in Salt Lake City.

This increasingly typical Southern California home in Carlsbad offers a bright mix of traditional Mediterranean style with open,  modern design. Plus, there's a pool. See more photos with the listing.

See more homes for sale in the San Diego area.

It's not so much what's on the outside of this very private home on 2.2 acres in Chapel Hill, but what's on the inside and what you can see from its tall windows and spacious back porch. See more photos with the listing.

See more homes for sale in the Durham-Chapel Hill area.
If you're thinking that all that traditional style on the exterior of this Des Moines townhome is just a big front for a lot of sleek open space and new-fangled conveniences on the inside, you're right. See more photos with the listing.

See more homes for sale in the Des Moines area
Orem calls itself "Family City USA" and this home there has plenty of space to grow one, in a richly appointed environment. See more photos with the listing

See more homes for sale in the Provo-Orem area.

This large lakeside cabin in Rogers offers access to a healthy balance of solitude and sports. See more photos with the listing

See more homes for sale in the Fayetteville area.

From its front porch to its fireplace, this 1899 Fargo home has preserved the classic elements of American homes of its time, and with all the trimmings. See more photos of this Fargo home.

See more homes for sale in Fargo.

Aside from the inviting pool, the health benefits of this Austin home include a soothing fountain and invigorating jetted tub. When you've had enough H20, there's a wine cooler. See more photos of this Austin home.

See more homes for sale in the Austin area.

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Discovering a Great Market

Blomquist said this is the first time RealtyTrac had conducted this study, and one of its goals is to show people the variety of things they can research when deciding where to buy a home.

"We're showing that by digging into the data, you can find some of these hidden gems," Blomquist said. "There are good places to buy across the country that research will help you find."

Health rates were determined using 10 factors in three categories: lifestyle, disease and environment. As noted in the report, homeowners should take note of a market's lifestyle because neighbors' good and bad habits may rub off. Such lifestyle factors were activity rate, availability of fast food, heavy drinking and smoking.

Diabetes, obesity, heart attack and asthma made up the disease category, and environment comprised radon and air quality.

While Texas is home to the No. 1 market for health and real estate wealth (Austin-Round Rock), Utah is the only state to have two metropolitan statistical areas in the top 12 (Provo-Orem and Salt Lake City).

Blomquist said Utah real estate is "very solid."

"There's a lot of positive things happening in that market; unemployment rates are very low in Utah," he said. "It's again one of those that a lot of folks may not think of as being on the top of list of where there's some hot real estate."

No matter where you're looking, it's important to stay on top of your credit history and understand the home-buying process. You can use Credit.com's Credit Report Card and keep up to date on mortgage coverage to learn.

Related Links:
The First Thing to Do Before Buying a Home
How to Search for Your Next Home
The Ultimate Mortgage Glossary

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