Worst places to buy a home if you want it to grow in value

Worst places to buy a home if you want it to grow in value


While most home prices have doubled in the last 25 years, property owners in some cities have struggled to gain value — especially in Illinois.

Out of the 400 U.S. metropolitan areas ranked by home-price growth since 1998, six Illinois cities are in the bottom 15, according to a recent SmartAsset study.

On average, home values in the U.S. grew by 154% from the first quarter of 1998 through the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the study. However, the 15 bottom-ranked cities averaged only 66% price growth over that quarter century.

Montgomery, Alabama, is the worst city for growth, with prices rising just 59.6% since 1998. The city has a declining population with nearly a quarter of its residents living in poverty, according to U.S. Census data.

Cities in Illinois take up the next five spots in the ranking, with average price growth of only 61.8%. The state has had a steady outflow of residents for the past nine years, which has driven down prices. Reasons for the migration include wanting to be closer to family, job changes and retirement, according to United Van Lines’ 2023 National Movers Study.

In contrast, the city with the largest home-price growth was the booming tech hub of Austin, Texas, where home values have soared 354% in that time span. 

Cities across California ranked high as well. The state has the largest shortage of homes in the country, which has pushed prices up, especially in large cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Home prices there have grown 324.8% and 283.8%, respectively.

Values in Florida also have grown steadily over the years, with Miami and Naples both posting price growth just over 290% since 1998.

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