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Strong Housing Market for Veterans

A report by the Urban Institute says that currently there are more than 19.2 million veterans are living in the U.S. Where is the best market for them?  [1]

Urban Institute found that Tampa, Florida, was named the best place for veterans to live, possessing a healthy economy, job opportunities, and a reliable quality of life. 

Tampa came in at No. 8 in employment, No. 12 in the economy, and No. 6 in quality of life. Florida also had the top-two markets for the highest veteran income growth—Orlando and Hialeah.

Joining Tampa at the top of the list was Austin, Texas; Orlando; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Fremont, California, has the highest share of military-skill related jobs, followed by Madison, Wisconsin; Irvine, California; Durham, North Carolina; and Seattle, Washington. 

While Hialeah was among the top markets for the highest veteran income growth, it also has the lowest share of military-skill related jobs.

Santa Ana, California, has the lowest veteran unemployment rate, while Cincinnati, Ohio, has the highest. 

Additionally, Zillow reports [2]that both rent and mortgages are more affordable for active-duty military and veteran households than the average home in all but three metros. Homes are more affordable to veteran households in all major metros.

Nationally, the average household in the U.S. spends 16% of its income on a mortgage payment. This number falls to 13.4% for active-duty military households and just 10.9% for veterans. 

"At a time when housing affordability is a real issue for so many, including public servants like teachers and firefighters, the outlook is encouraging in much of the country for current and former service members and their families," said Zillow Group Economist Joshua Clark. "Taking advantage of benefits like VA loans can really pay off as well. At current rates, a home buyer would save about $20,000 over the life of a loan on a typical home – and that's before factoring in other benefits of VA loans such as not always requiring a down payment and limits on closing costs."

Seattle, Washington; San Diego, California; and Portland, Oregon are the most unaffordable markets for veterans and active-duty service members, as they have a greater share of their income going to mortgages. 

Zillow states that Florida is home to the most affordable markets for military households—Miami, Orland, and Tampa.