While Iowa may have the lowest housing costs, and West Virginia has the highest homeownership rate, Massachusetts is ranked as the best place to live overall, according to a recent study from WalletHub. Based on five main indicators: affordability, economy, education and health, quality of life, and safety, Wallethub determined which states were the “best places to live.”
Massachusetts is ranked low in affordability, at 43, but between second and fourth in every category, making it WalletHub’s “best place to live.” Iowa, with the lowest housing costs in the country, is ranked eighth. WalletHub’s top five cities by housing prices were Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas. North Dakota also experienced some of the highest income growth in the country.
The highest homeownership rate in the country can be found in West Virginia, along with Maine, Minnesota, Delaware, and Iowa again. West Virginia is also ranked second in overall affordability, behind Alabama.
CoreLogic reported that affordability continues to improve across the nation, and home buying power has reached 2017 levels after an 11-month slowdown. Fleming states that the declining mortgage rates and rising income have led to boosted home buying power, overcoming the drag on affordability from rising nominal house prices.
Affordability has been on the rise through the first several months of 2019. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported that average interest rates on all mortgages fell 24 points from March to 4.20% in April.
The FHFA stated home prices rose in every state, but First American’s Real Home Price Index states affordability also increased for the first time since March 2016.
“In March, two main components of the RHPI swung in favor of increased affordability – continued strong household income growth and declining mortgage rates,” said First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming. “Nationally, affordability improved on a year-over-year basis for the first time since 2016.”