2017 Best Counties to Buy a House Methodology

The 2017 Best Counties to Buy a House ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the housing and community of an area at the county level. This grade takes into account key factors of a location’s housing market, including home values, taxes, crime rates, and quality of local schools, in an attempt to measure the quality and stability of an area’s real estate market. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

Factor Description Source Weight
Home Value to Income Ratio The ratio of the median home value to the median family income, where lower is considered better. U.S. Census 15.0%
Public Schools Grade Based on the average Niche K-12 Overall Grade for every public school serving the area, where each school is weighted by the number of students it serves. Niche 15.0%
Monthly Housing Cost The median monthly housing costs for homeowners. U.S. Census 10.0%
Cost of Living Grade Based on the consumer price index and access to affordable housing. Niche 7.5%
Higher Education Rate Percentage of residents who have received a bachelor’s degree or higher. U.S. Census 7.5%
Median Home Value The median home value for the area. U.S. Census 7.5%
Percent Change Median Home Value The percent change in median home value. U.S. Census 7.5%
Crime & Safety Grade Based on violent and property crime rates. Niche 5.0%
Home Buying Age Newcomers The percent of residents between the ages of 20 and 44 who moved into the area within the last year. U.S. Census 5.0%
Home Ownership The percent of people who own the property in which they reside. U.S. Census 5.0%
Median Effective Property Tax The percent of the median property taxes paid on homes over the median home value. U.S. Census 5.0%
Monthly Housing Cost to Income Ratio The ratio of the median monthly housing cost for homeowners to the median monthly household income, where lower is better. U.S. Census 5.0%
Residents 25-44 Years Old Percentage of residents between the ages of 25 and 44. U.S. Census 5.0%

This ranking assesses 2,771 counties in the U.S. The same methodology is used to produce the Housing Grade for each ranked county as well as additional places. Statistics are primarily obtained from the U.S. Census and represent the most recent data available.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.