These 10 Housing Markets Are ‘Hidden Gems’

These 10 Housing Markets Are ‘Hidden Gems’

Monkey Business Images /

Buying a home has been exceptionally tough in 2021.

The price of existing single-family homes has risen at the fastest pace in five decades, according to the National Association of Realtors — and naturally, the coronavirus pandemic has been one of the largest factors.

However, it’s not the same story everywhere you look: Some housing markets remain relatively affordable. These markets are the focus of a new NAR report, which describes them as “hidden gems.”

Using a ratio of median home price to median family income, the report identifies several metro areas it considers undervalued right now.

Nationally, that ratio is 3.3, meaning the median national home value is about 3.3 times greater than the median national family income.

But in the “hidden gem” housing markets, the ratio of home price to income is 3.0 or less. Here’s a look at each.

Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Aneese /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 3.0

The Dallas/Fort Worth area has a lower home-to-income ratio than Austin, Texas (4.0), as well as other major metro areas like San Francisco (6.0), San Jose (7.3), Los Angeles (7.9), New York-Newark-Jersey City (4.9), Boston (4.1) and Washington, D.C. (3.7), the NAR report found.

Among the top undervalued markets, it also has the highest share of population aged 25 to 44. Still, a separate study from LendingTree found three other metros have a younger average homeowner age, as we reported in “10 Cities With the Oldest — and Youngest — Homeowners.”

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona
Sean-Pavone /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 3.0

With a median property value of $261,046, this metro is much more affordable than Phoenix, NAR notes.

Tucson also has one of the youngest workforces among America’s largest cities.

Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Florida

Melbourne, Florida
Stephen Wood /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 2.9

This metro’s median-home-price-to-income ratio makes it more attractive than other Florida metros such as Miami-Kendall (4.7), Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford (3.9) and North Point–Bradenton–Sarasota (3.8), according to NAR. Also attractive is the second-fastest wage growth of all the cities on this list over the past three years.

Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, Florida

Pensacola Florida
Matt Buikema /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 2.9

The Pensacola metro area has the same impressive home price-to-income ratio as the Palm Bay area. We also cite Pensacola in “The 15 Best Cities to Retire in Florida.”

San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas

San Antonio at night.
f11 photo /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 2.8

The San Antonio metro area has a median home value of $227,784, beating out other Texas metros such as Austin ($410,653), Dallas ($293,976) and Houston ($245,098), according to NAR.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee
Kevin Ruck /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 2.7

The median home value in Knoxville is $228,878, which NAR says is one of the most affordable on this list. However, home prices have risen faster than wages over the past three years. This may be less of a concern for retirees; we recently noted that Knoxville is No. 4 of the “10 Most Affordable Cities for Retirees.”

Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas-Missouri

Fayetteville, Arkansas, Washington County Court House
shuttersv /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 2.7

The Fayetteville metro has enjoyed the highest cumulative job growth over the past three years, according to the NAR report, and wage gains have kept pace with the rise in home prices.

Sound appealing? You might be able to get paid $10,000 to relocate, as we noted in “10 Places That Will Pay You to Move There in 2021.”

Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama
Bob Pool /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 2.7

This metro in southwestern Alabama has the fastest-growing population of any metro on this list, up 7.8% from 2017 through 2020, according to the report. It also has the fastest-growing income, with average weekly wages rising more than 36% between mid-2018 and mid-2021.

Alabama has the second-lowest property tax burden in the nation, as we reported in “10 States With the Cheapest Property Taxes.”

Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville Alabama cityscape skyline
By Sean Pavone /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 2.6

Despite a 24.6% increase in home prices over a three-year period, Huntsville still sits among the top 10 undervalued housing markets, according to NAR.

It was also named one of the best places for career opportunities, ranking fifth out of 200 metros, as we recently noted.

Spartanburg, South Carolina

Spartanburg, South Carolina
Kevin Ruck /

Ratio of median home price to median family income: 2.5

Spartanburg has a median home value of $181,571 — the lowest among NAR’s “hidden gems,” although it’s becoming less hidden. Spartanburg had the second-highest cumulative growth in population from 2017 to 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, the area was known for high job growth, particularly in the manufacturing jobs that made up a quarter of its workforce.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.