The 20 Best Cities for Homebuyers During COVID-19

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When uncovering the 20 best metro areas to buy a home during the ongoing pandemic, MoneyGeek considered home purchase factors such as affordability, the real estate market, the job market, access to parks and outdoor spaces, broadband internet connectivity and how COVID-19 has affected the area.

Scores in each of these categories were combined to create an overall score from 0 to 100 for each metro area. High scores are good indicators in determining the best city to purchase a home. As you review the list, you may notice that some cities have substantially higher scores in some areas, such as affordability, but may have ranked low in available jobs or park access.

For the COVID-19 growth factor score, this number was measured from June 9 through September 9, 2020, and based on COVID-19 case growth and deaths per capita. This metric is included for the health and safety of people purchasing a home and to understand the way COVID-19 impacts each community. High scores show communities are managing the pandemic well, compared to communities with lower scores.

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a current homeowner in a housing market that has been negatively affected by the coronavirus and considering making a change, discover which metro areas are the best places to buy a home during the pandemic and possibly beyond.


20. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Georgia
Conchi Martinez / Shutterstock

Atlanta, Georgia ranks #20 with an overall score of 75.66. It has a high housing affordability score at 79.41, ranking it at #16 out of 72 U.S. cities in MoneyGeek's study. Atlanta's high COVID-19 growth factor score of 74.90 indicates fewer cases and deaths in the city. Its real estate market and internet connectivity scored in the 60s while its job market and park access dip into the 50s range.

  • Overall Score: 75.66
  • Affordability: 79.41
  • Real Estate Market: 67.90
  • Job Market: 56.15
  • Park Access: 52.26
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 74.90
  • Connectivity: 60.55

19. Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas
KSwinicki / Shutterstock

Wichita, Kansas has a high housing affordability score of 91.33, putting it at #6 for affordability out of 72 cities. It also has a high COVID-19 growth score of 78.39, which means the city has fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths. Wichita's real estate market is above 60 while its job market, park access and internet connectivity scores are below 50.

  • Overall Score: 75.79
  • Affordability: 91.33
  • Real Estate Market: 64.59
  • Job Market: 48.86
  • Park Access: 41.94
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 78.39
  • Connectivity: 37.02

18. Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina
Konstantin L / Shutterstock

Raleigh, North Carolina has a high internet connectivity score of 79.80 and a high COVID-19 growth factor score of 86.99. Raleigh ranks #28 out of 72 cities for job market strength, #36 for park access and #38 for housing affordability. Raleigh ranks as #18 as the best city for homebuyers during the pandemic with an overall score of 75.99.

  • Overall Score: 75.99
  • Affordability: 66.70
  • Real Estate Market: 74.73
  • Job Market: 55.86
  • Park Access: 55.34
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 86.99
  • Connectivity: 79.80

17. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock

Virginia Beach, Virginia receives a COVID-19 growth factor of 84.18. Its housing affordability, real estate market and park access are on the high end with scores in the 70s and mid-60s. Virginia Beach's job market and internet connectivity scores are in the mid-50s. These factors give Virginia Beach an overall score of 77.90, ranking it at #17.

  • Overall Score: 77.90
  • Affordability: 74.54
  • Real Estate Market: 72.81
  • Job Market: 53.20
  • Park Access: 64.75
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 84.18
  • Connectivity: 55.39

16. Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs, Colorado
photo.ua / Shutterstock

Colorado Springs ranks #16 with its overall score of 78.49. It has mid scores for housing affordability, job market and park access, and has high scores for COVID-19 growth score, real estate market and internet connectivity.

  • Overall Score: 78.49
  • Affordability: 56.72
  • Real Estate Market: 89.09
  • Job Market: 67.28
  • Park Access: 59.12
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 91.49
  • Connectivity: 81.05

15. Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Nadia Yong / Shutterstock

Seattle, Washington is #15 with an overall score of 78.62. It has high scores for the real estate market, park access, COVID-19 growth factor and internet connectivity, scoring between 89 to 98. Its housing affordability score is below 50 while its job market strength score peaks slightly over 56.

  • Overall Score: 78.62
  • Affordability: 43.86
  • Real Estate Market: 92.14
  • Job Market: 56.34
  • Park Access: 89.71
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 97.11
  • Connectivity: 93.60

14. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin
youngryand / Shutterstock

Coming in at #14, Madison, Wisconsin's scores rank #2 for park access, #4 for job market strength and #11 for internet connectivity compared to the other 72 cities in this analysis. It has high scores for park access at 93.37, internet connectivity at 76.03 and COVID-19 at 74.71, followed by its job market score of 74.02. Madison's housing affordability and real estate market scores are in the low and high 60s range.

  • Overall Score: 80.71
  • Affordability: 61.34
  • Real Estate Market: 67.08
  • Job Market: 74.02
  • Park Access: 93.37
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 74.71
  • Connectivity: 76.03

13. St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

St. Louis, Missouri's overall score is 82. Its housing affordability and park access scores are in the 80s, while its other scores for COVID-19 growth, job market, real estate market and internet connectivity sit in the 60s and 50s.

  • Overall Score: 82
  • Affordability: 84.90
  • Real Estate Market: 53.81
  • Job Market: 65.70
  • Park Access: 80.06
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 67.44
  • Connectivity: 50.32

12. Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

At #12, Baltimore has an overall score of 82. Its COVID-19 growth score is in the high 80s, followed by job market, real estate market and affordability scores in the 70s and mid-range scores for park access and internet connectivity.

  • Overall Score: 82
  • Affordability: 70.83
  • Real Estate Market: 71.38
  • Job Market: 72.63
  • Park Access: 60.34
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 88.95
  • Connectivity: 62.30

11. Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri
TommyBrison / Shutterstock

Kansas City, Missouri receives an overall score of 82.63. It has high job market, housing affordability and COVID-19 growth factor scores between 70 to 80. It has mid-range scores for the real estate market, park access and internet connectivity.

  • Overall Score: 82.63
  • Affordability: 77.34
  • Real Estate Market: 68.34
  • Job Market: 73.24
  • Park Access: 61.84
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 79.64
  • Connectivity: 56.28

10. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio
Randall Vermillion / Shutterstock

Ranking at #10, Columbus, Ohio has scores above 85 for the real estate market and COVID-19 growth factor. It ranks #22 out of the 72 other cities in this study for job market with a score of 60.75. Its park access score is also in the mid-range at 52.94.

  • Overall Score: 84.46
  • Affordability: 74.16
  • Real Estate Market: 87.73
  • Job Market: 60.75
  • Park Access: 52.94
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 85.57
  • Connectivity: 71.96

9. Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio
f11photo / Shutterstock

With an overall score of 84.62, Cleveland ranks #9 as the best city for homebuyers during the pandemic. Its COVID-19 growth factor score is 92.53, and its housing affordability score is 89.10, with park access at 70.43 and the real estate market at 65.27 coming up behind them. Cleveland's internet connectivity is on the low end at 31.41.

  • Overall Score: 84.62
  • Affordability: 89.10
  • Real Estate Market: 65.27
  • Job Market: 45.45
  • Park Access: 70.43
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 92.53
  • Connectivity: 31.41

8. Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska
Real Window Creative / Shutterstock

Lincoln, Nebraska has an overall score of 88.62. Its scores are on the high end for job market strength, park access, housing affordability, internet connectivity and COVID-19 growth. Lincoln's COVID-19 growth factor is 74.40, ranking it at #44 out of 72 cities in MoneyGeek's analysis. Its real estate market score is on the lower end at 39.81.

  • Overall Score: 88.62
  • Affordability: 77.32
  • Real Estate Market: 39.81
  • Job Market: 100
  • Park Access: 78.11
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 74.40
  • Connectivity: 75.43

7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
Konstantin L / Shutterstock

Ranking at #7, Pittsburgh receives a score of 89.14. Its high scores range in the 90s, with housing affordability score leading at 96.75. Its COVID-19 growth score follows with 91.06, while its scores for the real estate market, internet connectivity and job market strength are in the middle to lower end.

  • Overall Score: 89.14
  • Affordability: 96.75
  • Real Estate Market: 54.33
  • Job Market: 32.98
  • Park Access: 78.39
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 91.06
  • Connectivity: 51.48

6. Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York
Paul Brady Photography / Shutterstock

Buffalo, New York has high scores for housing affordability, real estate market and COVID-19 growth. With a score of 100, this city has very few cases and deaths, ranking it as #1 in this category among the other 72 cities in this MoneyGeek analysis. Buffalo's scores are also low for job market and internet connectivity, scoring 40.23 and 36.99, respectively. Its park access score is in the mid-range at 61.18.

  • Overall Score: 90.75
  • Affordability: 90.05
  • Real Estate Market: 86.01
  • Job Market: 40.23
  • Park Access: 61.18
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 100
  • Connectivity: 36.99

5. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Washingon, D.C. comes in at 91.25 with its overall score, making it #5 as the best city for homebuyers during COVID-19. Its COVID-19 growth factor score is 91.99, indicating a low growth of coronavirus cases and deaths. Along with its COVID-19 score, it has high scores in the 90s for the real estate market, park access and internet connectivity. Washington, D.C.'s housing affordability and job market scores are just above the mid-range at 58.31 and 64.36, respectively.

  • Overall Score: 91.25
  • Affordability: 58.31
  • Real Estate Market: 93.21
  • Job Market: 64.36
  • Park Access: 91.06
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 91.99
  • Connectivity: 93.37

4. Toledo, Ohio

Toledo, Ohio
Gang Liu / Shutterstock

Toledo, Ohio has a high housing affordability score of 100, which ranks this city at #1 for this category out of 72 cities in this MoneyGeek study. Its COVID-19 growth factor is 83.62 and its real estate market score is 71.40. Its internet connectivity is on the lower end with 36.43. Toledo ranks at #4 with an overall score of 92.45.

  • Overall Score: 92.45
  • Affordability: 100
  • Real Estate Market: 71.40
  • Job Market: 58.69
  • Park Access: 54.36
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 83.62
  • Connectivity: 36.43

3. Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska
EQRoy / Shutterstock

Omaha, Nebraska receives 93.05 as its overall score, placing it at #3. Its housing affordability, real estate market and job market scores are in the 80s, while its park access, internet connectivity and COVID-19 growth scores are in the low to high 60s.

  • Overall Score: 93.05
  • Affordability: 83.81
  • Real Estate Market: 81.91
  • Job Market: 86.18
  • Park Access: 68.13
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 63.92
  • Connectivity: 61.77

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota
f11photo / Shutterstock

At #2, Minneapolis, Minnesota's overall score is 94.48. Its park access score is at 100 and its real estate market is 84.64, followed by its COVID-19 growth factor score of 78.04. Minneapolis ranks #31 for housing affordability and #12 for job market strength out of the 72 U.S. cities in MoneyGeek's analysis.

  • Overall Score: 94.48
  • Affordability: 72.81
  • Real Estate Market: 84.64
  • Job Market: 66.49
  • Park Access: 100
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 78.04
  • Connectivity: 71.05

1. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio
photo.ua / Shutterstock

For the #1 best city for homebuyers during the pandemic, Cincinnati has an overall score of 100. Its COVID-19 growth score is 84.53 and its housing affordability score is 85.43, ranking #10 in affordability compared to the other 72 cities in this MoneyGeek analysis. Its park access score is high at 92.78 and its job market strength is 66.75, followed by its internet connectivity at 61.75.

  • Overall Score: 100
  • Affordability: 85.43
  • Real Estate Market: 74.90
  • Job Market: 66.75
  • Park Access: 92.78
  • COVID-19 Growth Factor: 84.53
  • Connectivity: 61.75


About the Author

Katy McWhirter is a writer living in Louisville, Kentucky, who specializes in topics such as education, personal finance and travel.



Sources