Love Craft Breweries, National Parks, and Affordable Housing? Move to New Mexico.
Location is important for anyone buying a house, but it's especially important for younger home buyers. You're making a big commitment to that location during a time in your life when you're not necessarily tied down to a certain career, you don't have that many family responsibilities, and most of your disposable income is still dedicated hanging out with friends and finding cool things to do on the weekends. For us, the ideal location is somewhere you can get outside, enjoy a drink with friends, and not break the bank on your mortgage.
So, where is this enchanted place? We cut out the guess work for you and rated all the states based on the number of craft breweries, the number of national parks, and the average home price. If you want to hit the trifecta, start looking in New Mexico.
How do the states stack up? Here are the rankings:
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When it comes to choosing your first home, these three attributes can make for a great lifestyle. But they can also help you find a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood where you have potential to increase your property value over the years. Here's how.
National parks: Supply and demand
It's a simple case of supply and demand. Unless we shrink our park's acreage, you're buying up a finite resource: land. Depending on how close you are to the park, it can also be a safeguard against someone deciding they want to develop a huge mall one block over from your house or to divert a major highway through your backyard.
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Craft breweries: A neighborhood vibe
Most craft breweries and brewpubs are relatively small. These businesses have reclaimed old warehouse districts, renovated rundown buildings, and generally popped up in spaces no one else wanted to mess with. But their "pull you up by your bootstraps" attitude means they're highly dependent on—and involved in—the community. They typically try to make their business a place where you can come with your friends to enjoy a game of trivia, bring out of town guests for a long lunch, or celebrate a happy hour with your coworkers. These aren't places that encourage drunkness and debauchery. In fact, they usually make an effort to be family friendly by providing games and toys that guests of all ages can enjoy. That means you don't have to worry about an unsavory neighbor bringing your property values down or making you feel unsafe in your own neighborhood.
Home values: A first-time buyer's biggest concern
This one's a no brainer. It can already be difficult to figure out exactly what you can afford and how to budget for a down payment. That can be much harder if you live somewhere where property values are sky high and owning a home seems out of reach. Finding that cross section of a good location and a reasonable price is key for any first-time home buyer.
Home value: We looked at each state's median list price per square foot across a period of one year (07-2016 to 06-2017). We then divided $300,000 by the state's median to get our final number. The median list prices for North Dakota were only available in five representative counties. To calculate the final number for this state, we found the median for a one year period in each of the five representative counties and then took the median of that spread. We then ranked all the states based on their final number with one being the least expensive place.
National Parks: We used the National Parks Service data to show the raw number of parks, trails, and national historic sites in each state. We then ranked all the states based on the number of National Parks Sites they have with one being the state with the most sites.
Craft breweries: We used data from the Brewers Association to show the number of crafter breweries in each state. After that number by the state's total population and multiplied the total by 1,000,000 to get craft breweries per 1,000,000 people. We then used that number to rank the states with one being the state with the most craft breweries per capita.
Overall rank: The overall rank is an average of each state's final rank in each of the three categories.
Download the raw data to see how we got to our final ranking.