The 5 Worst — and 5 Best — Places to Buy a Home in 2024

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Happy homeowner young couple
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The old saw about the housing market — “location, location, location” — held true in 2023.

Nationwide, the median price for a home rose 1.2%, according to Realtor.com. But in some markets, prices rose to much loftier heights.

Meanwhile, in other places, prices fell.

Recently, Realtor.com released a nationwide analysis of housing market price shifts in 2023. The data analyzed was from December 2022 to December 2023, and the study selected only one metropolitan area in each state to ensure the results reflected geographic diversity.

With those factors in mind, here are the places with the biggest price changes — both increases and drops — last year. Thus, if you are shopping for a home in 2024, these markets are among the worst and best to buy, at least based on recent price changes. First, the markets with the biggest increases:

1. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara California
Virrage Images / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $1.8 million as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $899

One-year percentage change in home price: 25.2% increase

If you visit Santa Barbara, take note of the Santa Ynez Mountains just north of the California city. While mountain ranges commonly run roughly from north to south, the Santa Ynez Mountains run from east to west.

2. Daphne, Alabama

Daphne, Alabama
George Dodd III / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $529,900 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $348

One-year percentage change in home price: 24.5% increase

Daphne is known as the Jubilee City to mark a recurring phenomenon in which blue crabs, shrimp and fish swim into shallow waters along the shoreline of Alabama’s Mobile Bay, making them easy pickings for just about everyone. The happy event occurs periodically during summer.

3. Utica, New York

Utica, New York
Mahmoud Suhail / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $229,000 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $145

One-year percentage change in home price: 23.5% increase

When Prohibition was finally repealed in the United States on Dec. 5, 1933, Utica Club was the first beer officially available for sale. The West End Brewing Co. in the city of Utica, New York, brewed the beer, which is still available for sale to this day.

4. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic City amusement park rides.
f11photo / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $599,000 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $365

One-year percentage change in home price: 20.6% increase

Atlantic City is home to the world’s first boardwalk (which opened in 1870) and the first salt-water taffy. But the New Jersey city is perhaps best known for inspiring the street names of the iconic Monopoly board game.

5. Joplin, Missouri

Grand Falls in Joplin, Missouri
MS7503 / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $251,000 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $136

One-year percentage change in home price: 16.4% increase

Many people mistakenly believe the city of Joplin, Missouri, was named for ragtime composer Scott Joplin, who lived about three hours’ drive away in Sedalia, Missouri. However, Joplin was actually named after the Rev. Harris Joplin, founder of the area’s first Methodist congregation.

Biggest price drops of 2023

Home price reduced
Laura Gangi Pond / Shutterstock.com

While many cities saw home price increases in 2023, others experienced declines. Here are the five cities that recorded the biggest dips last year, based on the Realtor.com analysis.

1. Green Bay, Wisconsin

Green Bay, Wisconsin
Donald Joski / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $424,800 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $211

One-year percentage change in home price: 8.7% decrease

Wisconsin’s oldest city is home to the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers, but it has another claim to fame that is perhaps more significant: The world’s first splinter-free toilet paper was invented in Green Bay in the early 1900s.

2. Lubbock, Texas

Downtown Lubbock, Texas
Patricia Elaine Thomas / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $255,000 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $140

One-year percentage change in home price: 7.3% decrease

Rock and roll legend Buddy Holly was born in Lubbock, and his legacy lives on: Lubbock — not Austin — has more music venues per capita than any other city in Texas.

3. South Bend, Indiana

South Bend, Indiana
Aaron Yoder / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $220,000 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $139

One-year percentage change in home price: 6.3% decrease

South Bend is home to the University of Notre Dame and its legendary football Fighting Irish. In 1995, the College Football Hall of Fame also opened in this Indiana city.

4. Macon, Georgia

Macon, Georgia
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $225,000 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $120

One-year percentage change in home price: 4.1% decrease

Macon is known as the Cherry Blossom Capital of the World. Each March, more than 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees bloom in the Georgia city, and Macon celebrates with a festival.

5. Billings, Montana

Billings Montana
Gary C. Tognoni / Shutterstock.com

Median home list price: $484,000 as of December 2023

Median list price per square foot: $210

One-year percentage change in home price: 3.1% decrease

Rodent lovers headed west to look for a new home might want to mosey on past Billings and find another town: It is against the law to own pet rats in the city.

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