Climate and weather have a sizable impact on our daily lives. It dictates what we wear, how we travel, and what activities we do. It also plays no small part in where we choose to live.
According to Redfin, 48% of Americans planning to move in the next year said extreme temperatures play a role in their decision making. Seventy-nine percent said they are hesitant to buy a home in an area with increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters.
However, affordability can be a major barrier to buying a home in an area with an ideal climate. For example, San Diego offers mild temperatures and sunny days year-round, but the median home sale price of $775,000 is nearly double the national median.
Fortunately, the folks at real estate company PropertyShark ranked U.S. cities with 150,000 people or more based on home affordability and year-round weather. The top 20 list may be helpful to people looking to buy a home they can enjoy inside and out.
What's in this Article?
To find the top 20, PropertyShark ranked cities based on a combination of affordability and climate factors.
The affordability index represents the percentage of area median income that would go toward monthly mortgage payments for a home at the city’s median sale price. All of the cities on the top 20 list have a housing affordability index below 30%, representing less than a third of the median monthly earnings.
Year-round weather is determined by a handful of factors:
- Clear days per year
- Days that reach extreme temperatures (above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees)
- Annual rainfall
- Average wind speed
The results paint a pretty picture for homebuyers eyeing the South and Southeast in particular.
With three cities in the top 5, North Carolina is a hot-spot (or not-so-hot spot) for home affordability and temperate year-round weather.
Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro all face light rainfall, mild wind speeds, and few days above 90 degrees. More importantly, housing is still very affordable at the median income. In Raleigh, the payment for a home at the median sales price accounts for just 21% of monthly earnings at the local median income.
At 29%, the housing affordability index is a little higher in Charlotte. However, local housing experts claim it’s well worth it for four seasons packed with activities.
“Having traveled and visited a lot of places, it makes me appreciate just how incredible Charlotte and the surrounding cities are,” said Jeff Gilmore, senior vice president area manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (Fairway owns Home.com). “From the spectacular food scene that has exploded here, to all the great sports teams, the super cool parks, the brewery scene, the Whitewater Center, and much more, this city truly has something to offer everyone.”
Given the ideal combination of weather, affordability, and amenities, Charlotte is already attracting homebuyers from all over.
“These activities coupled with great seasonal weather and a robust job market, it’s no wonder people relocate here from all over the country, making Charlotte a melting pot of amazing people,” said Ken Land, Charlotte’s senior vice president area manager at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation.
Homebuyers that like it a little warmer and sunnier may find Shreveport, La., attractive. Shreveport averages 115 clear days per year — the most of all the cities in the top 10 — and only 33 days below freezing.
It’s also far enough inland from the Gulf Coast to avoid tropical storms.
Shreveport is the fifth most affordable city in the top 20, with an affordability index of 18%. The median list price of $153,500 is ideal for first-time homebuyers and families.
“I have lived in Shreveport for over 20 years. It is a beautiful city,” said Fairway Loan Officer Kelli Maggio. “Shreveport has several magnet schools which are the top performing schools in the state. As far as the housing market goes, a family is able to purchase a new home in a beautiful gated neighborhood starting around $250,000. Most of the gated areas have pools, walking trails, 24-hour security, and green areas for the kids to play.”
Nashville is somewhat of a surprise in the top 10, but certainly not because of the climate. With 52 days above 90 degrees and less than 50 inches of rain per year, there’s a lot to love about Nashville’s weather.
What’s surprising is that Nashville’s housing affordability index is still only 30% after a year of double-digit home price increases. At the median income and home price, Music City homeowners can still spend less than a third of their budget on their mortgage payments, leaving money left over for food and nightlife.
Fairway Loan Officer Bri Vandlen is quick to offer recommendations for both categories.
Out of 144 live music venues, Vandlen suggests The Listening Room, Whiskey Jam, The 5 Spot, and The Basement East.
And for food, Vandlen’s got a time-saving tip. “Hattie B’s is one of the best hot chicken sandwiches in the city, though usually there is a huge line,” she said. “So here’s my tip: skip the line, call in your order, it’s usually ready in less than 20 minutes and you get to cut to the front of the line to pay!”
Buying a home in an area with mild year-round weather isn’t just good for the soul — it’s good for the wallet. As climate change becomes a greater factor in housing, homes that face less weather extremes are likely to increase in value.
So if you’re looking for a long term investment — and a comfortable place to call home — looking at one of these top cities for affordability and climate is a great place to start.