Working with a buyer's agent is one of the best ways military families can make sure they are aware of and can take advantage of all their benefits

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 18, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the GI Bill and its many benefits for military households, Realtor.com® identified the top 10 U.S. metros best suited for military households. Taking key criteria important to military home shoppers into consideration, the top market on the list is Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa. 

The top 10 in rank order include: Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa; Augusta-Richmond County, Ga.-S.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.; Palm Bay-Melbourne- Titusville, Fla.; Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark; Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.; Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark; Richmond, Va.; and San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas.

With affordability still a major factor in home buying decisions, knowing which markets offer lower home prices, high military homeownership rates, and a lower forecasted unemployment rate can help military households across the U.S. find the best town for their family. Moreover, these markets also have a high rate of home sales financed by VA loans, which provide significant financial relief and make it easier for military members to achieve homeownership in their desired location, despite high prices and competition for homes.

The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as GI Bill of Rights, was a law that provided a range of benefits for those returning from World War II including federal aid to help veterans buy homes, get jobs and pursue an education.

"Veterans have many benefits when it comes to real estate, thanks to the GI Bill and other important legislation. Unfortunately, seven in 10 Veterans are unaware they qualify for a zero-down home loan," said Mickey Neuberger, chief marketing officer for Realtor.com®.  "Understanding what you qualify for and navigating the process can be really overwhelming in the biggest financial transaction of your life. The best way for military homebuyers to be certain they are taking advantage of all their benefits is to work with a buyer's agent who specializes in working with the military community and can provide insights into the best local markets, the right home, and loan options."

"Having a buyer's agent in your corner who understands the unique needs and circumstances of Veterans is essential in the homebuying process," said Barby Wulff, executive director for Veterans United Realty. "A buyer's agent will help Veterans navigate the challenges of today's real estate market to best take advantage of their hard-earned home buying benefit. The VA home loan is a time-proven resource that has helped over 28 million Veterans and military families realize and succeed at the American dream of homeownership."

 The 10 U.S. metros are ranked based on the following factors:

  • A measure of VA loan use, estimated by the number of sales financed by VA loans per 1000 military households
  • A measure of homeownership accessibility, estimated by the homeownership rate among military households
  • A measure of the effectiveness of military benefits in promoting financial stability and access to homeownership, estimated by the homeownership rate gap between military and non-military households, adjusted for age-differences
  • A measure of affordability, measured by the Realtor.com® affordability score reflecting the share of home listings in a market that are affordable to those at various local income levels
  • The availability of homes for sale, measured by active listings per 1000 existing households, to ensure that homebuyers have a good amount of choice in their search
  • A measure of job stability, estimated by the forecasted unemployment rate

Based on the above criteria, the top 10 military-friendly markets for 2024 are:

Top Markets

# Sales with
VA loans per
1000 military hh

Homeownership
rate, military hh

Homeownership
rate gap, military
vs. non-military

Affordability
score

Active listing
per 1000 hh

Forecasted
unemployment
rate

Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA

18.5

88.8 %

0.18 ppt

0.77

57.3

2.9 %

Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC

27.8

81.0 %

0.13 ppt

0.73

53.6

3.9 %

Columbia, SC

27.6

81.8 %

0.10 ppt

0.73

37.8

3.3 %

Birmingham-Hoover, AL

15.4

84.9 %

0.12 ppt

0.83

40.7

3.5 %

Palm Bay-Melbourne-

Titusville, FL

17.4

85.8 %

0.10 ppt

0.55

65.8

3.7 %

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR

19.5

78.7 %

0.16 ppt

0.77

31.6

3.5 %

Indianapolis-Carmel-

Anderson, IN

16.4

80.9 %

0.10 ppt

0.83

38.1

3.4 %

Memphis, TN-MS-AR

16.9

79.7 %

0.14 ppt

0.77

39.4

4.1 %

Richmond, VA

16.1

82.3 %

0.11 ppt

0.65

34.1

3.3 %

San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

22.1

76.6 %

0.12 ppt

0.58

52.9

3.5 %

More details can be found in the report here. Veterans and military personnel interested in learning more about the homeownership resources available to them should visit the Veterans Affairs website.

Realtor.com® recently launched a new initiative promoting the benefits of buyer's agents for individuals in historically underserved and underrepresented communities, including Veteran, BIPOC, AAPI, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, first-time, and lower-income buyers. The homebuying process is complex, but for individuals in underrepresented communities the hurdles can be even more daunting. As part of the campaign, several prominent real estate organizations are signing on to a joint letter in support of buyer agency, which will be published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Post and Washington Post throughout the next month. Digital campaign ads will also appear on the Wall Street Journal and New York Post and be shared widely across trade and social media. To learn more about this campaign, click here.

Methodology
For the purpose of the research, a household is considered a military household if any member in the household is on active-duty or has a veteran status. In addition, we only focus on households where the head of household is 18 or older. VA loan use: The number of home sales using VA loans between April 2023 and March 2024, estimated from Realtor.com® public records database. The number of military households are derived from 2022 ACS 1-Year individual data. To estimate the homeownership rates among military households, we first calculate the rates for three age groups (18-34, 35-54 and 55+) and then take a weighted average across these groups. To get the homeownership rate gap between military and nonmilitary households, we first calculate the homeownership rates gap for each age group (18-34, 35-54 and 55+) and then take a weighted average across these groups, based on their proportion among all households. The metro-level Realtor.com® affordability score is an average of monthly scores between May 2023 and April 2024. The number of active listings per 1000 households is calculated using single family homes, condos and townhomes listed on Realtor.com® between May 2023 and April 2024. The household data is sourced from 2022 ACS 1-Year individual data.  The stated forecasted unemployment rates are Moody's Analytics projections of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics for each metro area.

About Realtor.com®
Realtor.com® is an open real estate marketplace built for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 25 years ago. Today, through its website and mobile apps, Realtor.com® is a trusted guide for consumers, empowering more people to find their way home by breaking down barriers, helping them make the right connections, and creating confidence through expert insights and guidance. For professionals, Realtor.com® is a trusted partner for business growth, offering consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today's on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. For more information, visit Realtor.com®.

Media Contact: press@realtor.com

 

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SOURCE Realtor.com

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