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10 Affordable Homes in Job Havens

Moving to Where the Jobs Are


If you’ve been struggling to find a job near where you live now, it may be time to move to a city where there actually are jobs.

For some Americans, that’s easier said than done. Many workers who lost their jobs during the recession found themselves under water on their mortgage and saddled with debt, making it that much harder to escape to an area with a better job market. But more recently job hunters have found a way to make it work.

One study from the career research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that 9.4% of those who found employment in the first half of 2011 relocated for their new jobs, the highest percentage to do so in two years. In the process, some likely took a loss on the sale of their house, but recognized that it would improve their long-term income prospects.

Of course, you don’t just want to move from one city with a lousy job market to another that’s not much better, so MainStreet used data from the job search engine Indeed.com on the cities with the most job openings per capita and asked Trulia.com, a real estate website, to pick out some of the best homes in those cities that are currently for sale. We chose to focus solely on the homes that were within $50,000 (above or below) the median asking price in each city, based on Trulia’s data. After all, just because you feel the need to move for a new job doesn’t mean you want to break the bank before you even have your first day at work.

Photo Credit: TaxBrackets.org

Austin, Texas


Job Postings Per 1,000 People: 90

Median Home Prices: $119,000

Times have been tough for much of the country, but in Austin things are looking up. The population is booming and so is the job market, thanks to a potent combination of low taxes and growing opportunities in the technology and energy industries. If you’re interested in being a part of that growth, this three-bedroom home may be the perfect place to make your move. It lists for $161,000 and comes with two bathrooms, high ceilings and a carefully landscaped lawn.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

Denver


Job Postings Per 1,000 People: 94

Median Home Prices: $200,000

Denver’s home prices dropped significantly during the recession and remain low compared to what it was during the housing boom, which may be a tough fact for sellers, but it provides a great opportunity for job hunters looking to move here to take advantage of the labor market.  This three-bedroom home lists for $187,500 and comes with a finished basement and a backyard with plenty of trees.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

Hartford, Conn.


Job Postings Per 10,00 People: 94

Median Home Prices: $130,000

This three-bedroom home lists for roughly $150,000 and comes with charming features like French doors, a fireplace and an old-style claw-foot bathtub.

Photo Credit: Trulia

Cleveland


Job Postings Per 1,000 People: 102

Median Home Prices: $56,520

Ohio, like much of the Great Lakes region, was hit hard by the recession and the collapse of the auto industry in particular. But Cleveland’s labor market has outperformed the state as a whole, with an unemployment rate below the national average and one of the highest ratios of job openings per capita. At the same time, it has the cheapest housing market by far of any on this list. For less than $75,000 you can purchase a four-bedroom, one-bathroom home with a remodeled kitchen and hardwood floors in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood. Good luck trying to find a comparable deal in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

Baltimore


Job Postings Per 1,000 People: 104

Median Home Prices: $133,000

We know what you’re thinking: Am I really going to live in the city made infamous by The Wire? But keep in mind that there are more job openings here than in most cities, and housing prices are much cheaper here than on most of the East Coast. This adorable home in Baltimore’s Waltherson neighborhood has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a backyard and deck and is currently listed for $179,900.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

Charlotte, N.C.


Job Postings Per 1000 People: 105

Median Home Prices: $172,500

North Carolina has an above average unemployment rate, but select cities like Charlotte and Durham have bright prospects going forward. For the time being, homes here are still comparatively cheap. This ranch-style home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a third of an acre in property and lists for just $150,000, less than most others on the list and below the median asking price in Charlotte.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

San Francisco


Job Postings Per 1,000 People: 105

Median Home Prices: $660,000

San Francisco’s labor market, like much of the West Coast, benefits from growth in technology and engineering jobs and is home to several of the fastest-growing occupations in the country. Unfortunately, San Francisco also has the most expensive housing market of any city on this list, but median household income here is also higher than in most other places, which may offset some of that cost. The home shown here is in the classic San Francisco style familiar to anyone who has seen the seven sisters (or Full House). It has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a redone kitchen and a front porch perfect for people watching.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

Seattle


Job Postings Per 1,000 People: 108

Median Home Prices: $340,349

Not only does Seattle have more job openings than most cities, but workers living in this city also enjoyed the biggest wage increase in 2011 of any city in the country. So moving to Seattle really is a good investment, and the home seen here may be just the place to make your move. This two-bedroom home sits on a tree-lined block in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood and sells for just under $375,000.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

Washington, D.C.


Job Postings Per 1,000 People: 147

Median Home Prices: $415,000

D.C. was one of the first cities to experience an uptick in hiring in the aftermath of the recession, helped in part by the federal government hiring more workers. More recently, the number of federal job opportunities has declined, but D.C. continues to have one of the healthiest job markets in the country. It can be pretty expensive to live in this city, but Trulia found a beautiful renovated three-bedroom home fit for a single family for $459,500. The home is incredibly spacious with a large kitchen, basement and backyard.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

San Jose, Calif.


Job Postings Per 1,000 People: 187

Median Home Prices: $400,000

San Jose’s labor market has fared the best of any in the country thanks largely to the success of tech companies in nearby Silicon Valley. Home prices here have increased as a result, but there are still fairly priced homes to be found if you know where to look. The home seen here is a four-bedroom, two-bathroom property perfect for a single family and sells for $450,000. Both bathrooms have been remodeled and so has the kitchen, so you won’t have to worry about pumping too much money into fixing up these rooms after you move in. But the best part of the home may be its huge back patio complete with trees and flowerbeds. It’s the perfect place to relax after work once you’ve found the right job for you.

Photo Credit: Trulia.com

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