Houston, we don't have a problem: Texas town tops new list of best places to live, work and play
Kiplinger's Personal Finance looked at cities with strong job markets, cultural offerings and a reasonable cost of living. Some interesting cities that made the list are Omaha, Boise and Colorado Springs, but Houston topped the list. Coming in at number two was Raleigh, which you see a lot of prognosticators talking about since North Carolina has been a really hot state for real estate for the past decade or longer.
Some friends of mine just moved to Houston, and one of the things they mentioned is the property taxes are much higher than they are used to. So while the cost of living may seem relatively low, those high property taxes are probably going to keep prices depressed. Also, with gas prices as high as they are, a city with little or no public transportation is probably less attractive than a city like Boston where you don't necessarily need a car.Probably the boldest pick on the list is Fayetteville, Arkansas. If you are looking for a place with a low cost of living, but the potential for huge gains, you'd be wise to check out places like St. Louis, Memphis, Oklahoma City, and yes, Omaha, in that central region of the country that is so often overlooked.
It's probably a great time to move to a place like New Orleans or Biloxi, Mississippi, and the infrastructure expenditures in that area mean it's probably just going to go up in value. Even cities like Detroit and Cleveland in the Midwest are going to be completely different in five years or so. Put it this way, they can't get much worse.
So you may want to stay away from Raleigh and Charlotte, where prices can't get much higher, and give places that won't make the best places to live list a chance.
Brett Widness is an editor with AOL's real estate channel and a licensed agent.