Best Places in the US to Buy a Home

San Xavier, Tucson Real EstateBuying a home is not a decision to be taken lightly. Personal finance gurus warn against purchasing unless you plan to keep it for a minimum of five years and, since the housing bubble burst, many say it’s best to buy only if it fits your lifestyle – not your investing portfolio.

For first-time home buyers shopping for a permanent, full-time residence, it’s advice to heed. But say you do simply want a place to park some of your hard-earned money, perhaps a fixer-upper you could occupy for a few years or maybe a house you believe you could rent out right away and easily oversee?

You wouldn’t be alone: investment-homes sales jumped 64.5% from 2010 to 2011, with investors making up 27% of all single-family, condo and co-op purchases last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. And it’s no wonder why. Home affordability is at the highest level ever in the 42 years that NAR has been tracking it.

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