Market Madness

Austin drops dramatically on list of America's best real estate markets

Austin drops dramatically on list of nation's best real estate markets

Austin skyline city buildings
Austin has slipped on this list. Kumar Appaiah/Flickr

Texas is busy dominating a list of the most attractive real estate markets in the U.S. But this year, Austin's not one of them.

Analysts at personal finance website WalletHub compared 300 cities across 21 key metrics to determine not only tangible assets, such as an area's common square footage and home style, but also historical market trends and the economic health of a city's residents. Those metrics make up two rankings — "real estate market" and "affordability and economic environment" — that look at everything from median home-price appreciation and foreclosure rates to the population growth rate and median credit score. The real estate market rank makes up a whopping 80 percent of the score.

Who's far and away the winner? Frisco places No. 1 in both categories and earns a total score of 83 points out of 100. Hot on its heels are North Texas neighbors McKinney (No. 2) and Allen (No. 3), with Richardson coming in at No. 5 and Carrollton making a showing at No. 8.

And what about Austin? The Capital City takes a dramatic dive from the No. 5 spot in 2016 all the way down to No. 68 this year. Austin ranks No. 93 for its real estate market and No. 39 for affordability and economic development.

Dallas hovers at No. 57, Houston comes in at No. 206, and San Antonio is No. 215.

If you want to separate the cities by size, North Texas still comes out on top. McKinney takes the crown as best mid-size city (150,000-300,000 people), and Frisco, Allen, and Richardson hold down the top three for small cities (fewer than 150,000 people). Last year, Austin was No. 1 on the big cities list (more than 300,000 people); this year we rank 15th.

You might want to avoid sinking your real-estate dollars into the Northeast, as Connecticut's Hartford and Bridgeport and New Jersey's Elizabeth, Paterson, and Newark all land at the bottom of the list, with Newark ranking dead last in each category.