The Best Counties to Buy a House Methodology

The 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

Home Value to Income RatioThe ratio of the median home value to the median family income, where lower is considered better.U.S. Census15.0%
Public Schools GradeBased 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.Niche15.0%
Monthly Housing CostThe median monthly housing costs for homeowners.U.S. Census10.0%
Cost of Living GradeBased on the consumer price index and access to affordable housing. Niche7.5%
Higher Education RatePercentage of residents who have received a bachelor’s degree or higher.U.S. Census7.5%
Median Home ValueThe median home value for the area.U.S. Census7.5%
Percent Change Median Home ValueThe percent change in median home value.U.S. Census7.5%
Crime & Safety GradeBased on violent and property crime rates.Niche5.0%
Home Buying Age NewcomersThe percent of residents between the ages of 20 and 44 who moved into the area within the last year.U.S. Census5.0%
Home OwnershipThe percent of people who own the property in which they reside.U.S. Census5.0%
Median Effective Property TaxThe percent of the median property taxes paid on homes over the median home value.U.S. Census5.0%
Monthly Housing Cost to Income RatioThe ratio of the median monthly housing cost for homeowners to the median monthly household income, where lower is better.U.S. Census5.0%
Residents 25-44 Years OldPercentage of residents between the ages of 25 and 44.U.S. Census5.0%

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.