Mindful of today's anemic job market and focused on their long-term financial security, many Americans mulling a home purchase in a new setting weigh the area's employment prospects as much as its real estate market. Before potential homebuyers throw themselves into decades-long financial commitments, they want to know that if they're cut loose by one employer, they still have a good shot of getting picked up by another.
In the spirit of Labor Day, real estate site Move, Inc. (which powers AOL's real estate search) put together this list of top 10 places where job prospects are strong and real estate values are holding steady, based on per-capita job postings from Indeed.com, July unemployment rates, and Realtor.com housing data. Click through the slideshow to see the 10 best towns for working toward homeownership.
10 Towns For Working Toward Homeownership
Top 10 Towns for Working Toward Homeownership
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 147
Unemployment Rate: 6.2%
Median List Price: $369,999
Y/Y Change: 2.78%
M/M Change: -1.07%
In addition to the government employment opportunities that Washington D.C. has to offer, it is also home to Fortune 2000 companies such as Danaher (conglomerate) and Pepco Holdings (electric utilities). Washington D.C. dominated the list with the highest job postings per 1,000 people at 147, as well as the lowest unemployment rate at 6.2 percent. In July, the median list price for single family homes, condominiums, co-ops and townhomes was $369,999, which was the highest increase in median list price on the list year-over-year.
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 104
Unemployment Rate: 7.9%
Median List Price: $244,500
Y/Y Change: -5.6%
M/M Change: .74%
Baltimore has the second highest job postings per capita in the bunch with 104 postings per 1,000 people. It is home to energy and financial services powerhouses Constellation Energy and T Rowe Price. Competition for jobs isn’t too fierce with an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. When it comes to real estate purchases, the median list price in July was $244,500 – down about 6 percent from last year and flat when compared with June 2011.
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 102
Unemployment Rate: 8.3%
Median List Price: $132,900
Y/Y Change: -5%
M/M Change: 2.23%
Cleveland, Ohio has the lowest median list price of all the cities on this list, at $132,900. Not only is housing affordable in Cleveland, the job market is home to several Fortune 2000 companies such as Progressive (insurance), Eaton corporation (power and energy), Parker Hannifin Corporation (appliance manufacturing) and Cliff’s Natural Resources (mining). It boasts a high job-per-capita rate of 102 per 1,000 people and an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, which is below the July national average of 9.1 percent.
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 94
Unemployment Rate: 9.2%
Median List Price: $254,900
Y/Y Change: -1.58%
M/M Change: -.89%
Hartford comes in at a high job-per-capita rate with 92 jobs per 1,000 people. But with a 9.2 percent unemployment rate, job seekers should be ready for some tough competition. For job seekers looking to purchase a home, the Hartford market looks like it has begun to stabilize, but is slightly down year-over-year and month-over-month. When it comes to the Fortune 2000, both Aetna (healthcare) and United Technologies Corporation (conglomerate) have made their headquarters in Hartford.
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 92
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Median List Price: $250,000
Y/Y Change: -3.81%
M/M Change: -2.91%
Newmont Mining (diversified metals and mining) and Molson Coors Brewing Company (beverages) both call Denver, Colo. home. Denver offers 92 jobs per 1,000 people, but its unemployment rate is one of the highest on the list at 8.7 percent, which is still below the national average. The July median list price was $250,000 – down about 4 percent year-over-year and down about 3 percent month-over-month.
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 90
Unemployment Rate: 7.6%
Median List Price: $224,900
Y/Y Change: 2.27%
M/M Change: 0%
Potential home buyers looking for stable job and real estate markets should consider Austin, Texas. It offers 90 jobs per 1,000 people and one of the lowest unemployment rates on this list at 7.6 percent. The median list price in Austin is $224,900 and has increased by approximately 2 percent year-over-year and was flat month-over-month. It is the headquarters for the big brand names such as Dell and Whole Foods Markets who were both on the Fortune’s 2000 company list this year.
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 84
Unemployment Rate: 7.1%
Median List Price: $329,900
Y/Y Change: -2.86%
M/M Change: -1.52%
State Street Corporation (investment services), Raytheon (aerospace and defense), Boston Properties (real estate) are all headquartered in Boston, Mass. It offers 81 jobs per 1,000 people and has a low unemployment rate of 7.1 percent. The housing market is still recovering in Boston: in July it had a median list price of $329,900 which was down roughly 3 percent year-over-year and 2 percent month-over-month.
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 81
Unemployment Rate: 8.2%
Median List Price: $150,000
Y/Y Change: .07%
M/M Change: .07%
Columbus is the second city in Ohio to make the list. While Cleveland beats Columbus in number of jobs per 1,000, the Columbus real estate market is showing more signs of stability when compared to Cleveland. The median list price in Columbus is higher than Cleveland at $150,000 and is flat when compared with last year and last month. When it comes to the Fortune 2000 list, American Electric has its headquarters in Columbus.
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 79
Unemployment Rate: 9%
Median List Price: $144,900
Y/Y Change: -6.46%
M/M Change: 3.54%
The unemployment rate in Phoenix is still high at 9 percent which could mean stiff competition for its 79 job opportunities per 1,000 people. The housing market in Phoenix is also still in flux, with a decrease in median list price of about 6.5 percent year-over-year. Phoenix is showing some signs of improvement with a 3.5 percent increase in median list prices month-over-month. It is also home to several Fortune 2000 companies such as: Republic Services (environmental and waste), Avnet (electronics), First Solar (electronics), and Apollo Group (business and personal services).
Job Postings Per 1000 People: 77
Unemployment Rate: 7.1%
Median List Price: $204,500
Y/Y Change: -2.62%
M/M Change: 2.25%
While Richmond has the lowest jobs per capita rate on the list, with 77 jobs per 1,000 people. It hosts the most Fortune 2000 on the list including: Capital One (consumer financial services), Altria Group (tobacco), Dominion Resources (electric utilities), Genworth Financial (diversified Insurance), and CarMax (specialty stores). Its unemployment rate is relatively low at 7.1 percent. While the median list price for July was down about 3 percent year-over-year, it is up about 2 percent month-over-month.