5 best and 5 worst cities for homeowners

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    That location matters when it comes to real estate may be even more true today after years of home price appreciation following the Great Recession.

    Not every city has rebounded at the same rate, and some have become unaffordable for middle-class workers in recent years. Add on other financial obligations such as property taxes and maintenance costs, and many Americans are wondering if it still makes sense to take the jump into homeownership.

    Owning a home is especially challenging for people living in coastal cities, a new survey from Bankrate.com found. Many of these cities have become increasingly expensive while also facing high property insurance rates and, in the Northeast, stiff heating costs.

    Still, even in expensive cities, workers may decide it's worth buying property if they want to lock in a price and insulate themselves from future rent hikes. Others may decide it's better to move to a less expensive suburb or relocate to another city.

    "In a lot of cities, the ability to build new housing isn't keeping up with demand," said Bankrate analyst Claes Bell. "It's fair to say that many cities are reaching a point where housing just isn't affordable for people who live and work there."

    Some of the best cities for homeowners are those that were hard hit by the housing decline, Bell said. While they've recovered from their lows, some of these markets still offer affordable values for buyers.

    The study examined homeownership based on eight factors:

    • home affordability
    • price appreciation
    • property taxes
    • homeowners' insurance rates
    • energy costs
    • maintenance costs
    • foreclosures
    • how rapidly rents rose over the past six years for which data are available

    Read on to learn about the five best and five worst cities for homeowners.