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10 best (and worst) states to buy a home this spring


By Elyssa Kirkham/GOBankingRates

For those looking to buy a home in 2016, the housing markets are looking up. Real estate company Redfin projects that home prices -- which shot up in 2015 -- will grow half as fast in 2016, and homes will stay on the market longer, reports mortgage news site Overall, this could mean more choices for homebuyers, both for houses and lending, as well as more time to make a smart home purchase.

With housing markets, however, location is always key, and the costs of buying a home can vary widely from state to state. To find the states that are offering homebuyers the best deal in 2016, GOBankingRates surveyed and ranked states according to five key housing factors that make a home an affordable and smart investment:

  • Housing affordability, measured as the ratio of median housing prices compared to median household incomes
  • Price of renting compared to the price of purchasing the same home
  • Year-over-year home values, with rising values indicating a smarter investment
  • Average mortgage APR in the state
  • Property taxes for the state

Click through to see the 10 best and worst states to buy a home this spring.

This article was originally published on GOBankingRates.

Worst: New Jersey (50)

  • Property Taxes: 2.38%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.04%
  • Median Listing Price: $276,000

New Jersey is the worst state to buy a home this spring. The biggest factor hurting New Jersey homebuyers' finances are the state's property taxes, which are the highest of any state, according to figures from the Tax Foundation. The yearly property taxes for a home priced at the $276,000 median would be $6,569, or $547 a month. The state also has higher median listing prices, while home values were growing slowly in 2015.

Worst: Virginia (49)

  • Property Taxes: 0.78%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.31%
  • Median Listing Price: $265,000

Virginia residents face the fourth-highest mortgage rates in the country, according to mortgage rate averages from Rate-Watch. Compared to the median mortgage rate of 4.07%, Virginia's rates add $5,000 to the total cost of a 30-year mortgage for each $100,000 borrowed. Compared to other states in this study, Virginia's price-to-rent ratio is high, indicating renting might be a better option for many residents.

Worst: New York (48)

Afton Almaraz/Getty Images
  • Property Taxes: 1.64%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.09%
  • Median Listing Price: $319,900

New York has higher property taxes and high home prices. Home values in the state actually fell overall in the past year, according to the Zillow Home Value Index, showing that a New York homebuyer might not see their investment pay off right away.

Worst: West Virginia (47)

Steve Heap/iStockphoto
  • Property Taxes: 0.59%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.53%
  • Median Listing Price: $149,250

West Virginia home values barely increased in 2015, and it has the highest mortgage rates of any state. West Virginians will pay $9,723 more in interest per $100,000 borrowed through a 30-year mortgage, compared to someone paying the median 4.07% mortgage rate. So despite low prices and property taxes, West Virginia is one of the worst states to buy a home in the spring.

Worst: ​California (46)

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Property Taxes: 0.81%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.21%
  • Median Listing Price: $440,000

With higher mortgage rates and some of the highest home prices, buying a home in California will be tough for many residents. A Californian would need 7.3 times the state's $60,487 median household income to buy a home at $440,000, the median Zillow listing price of homes in the state. The high home prices also mean that renting is often cheaper, as California's price-to-rent ratio is one of the highest in the study.

Worst: Montana (45)

  • Property Taxes: 0.86%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.10%
  • Median Listing Price: $285,000

Montana's higher home prices are out of reach for many of the state's residents, since the median income is only $51,102. This also makes it often cheaper to rent than buy a home in this state.

Worst: Ohio (44)

  • Property Taxes: 1.55%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.36%
  • Median Listing Price: $129,500

Ohio homebuyers have a few reasons to consider buying: houses are cheap compared to median household incomes and rents in this state. But this affordability is undercut by Ohio's mortgage rates, which are the second-highest of any state, as well as high property taxes.

Worst: ​Connecticut (43)

  • Property Taxes: 1.98%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 3.92%
  • Median Listing Price: $269,900

Property taxes will also be a burden on Connecticut homebuyers' budgets, as the state has the fourth-highest rates in the nation. Taxes on a Connecticut home valued at the median listing price would add $445 a month in housing costs. Home values also fell slightly over the past year, so homebuyers might not start accruing home equity right away.

Worst: ​New Mexico (42)

  • Property Taxes: 0.73%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.03%
  • Median Listing Price: $200,000

The biggest negative for New Mexico homebuyers is home values, which fell $1,200 on average in 2015 in this state, while home values across all states increased by a median of more than $5,000 in the same year. This is definitely as a sign of struggling local real estate markets.

Worst: ​Pennsylvania (41)

  • Property Taxes: 1.54%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.15%
  • Median Listing Price: $169,000

Rounding out the top 10 of the worst states to buy a home this spring is Pennsylvania. Lower prices and above-average incomes make Pennsylvania housing generally more affordable. But those in the market to buy a Pennsylvania home should watch out for steep property taxes and higher mortgages rates.

Best: Indiana (10)

Henryk Sadura/iStockphoto
  • Property Taxes: 0.86%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.14%
  • Median Listing Price: $129,900

Rounding out the top 10 of the best states to buy a home this spring is Indiana. With the state's median listing price at just $129,900, Indiana offers affordable housing even though locals earn a lower $48,060 median household income. This makes buying a great option over renting in this state, especially with its lower property taxes.

Best: Florida (9)

  • Property Taxes: 1.06%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.04%
  • Median Listing Price: $249,900

While it has higher housing prices, Florida residents will still find it relatively affordable to buy a home in this state. This is true even though home values in the state rose in the past year, which is also a good sign for Florida residents looking to build equity by investing in their home.

Best: South Dakota (8)

  • Property Taxes: 1.32%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.12%
  • Median Listing Price: $192,900

Homebuyers shopping in South Dakota will benefit from housing prices that are on the rise but still affordable. South Dakota home values rose 13 percent over the past year, according to Zillow, giving homeowners an equity boost of around $19,000 on average.

Best: Iowa (7)

  • Property Taxes: 1.49%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 3.93%
  • Median Listing Price: $145,900

Iowa property taxes are higher than in most states, adding $181 to monthly costs for homes at the median listing price. But homebuyers will still find Iowa housing affordable despite higher taxes, thanks to cheaper housing prices, lower mortgage rates and the relative expense of renting.

Best: Kansas (6)

  • Property Taxes: 1.39%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 3.96%
  • Median Listing Price: $148,000

Comparing Kansas housing prices to the median household income in the state, homebuyers come out ahead. With low Kansas housing prices and the decent $53,444 median income, just 2.77 years' worth for income would buy a home outright, which makes Kansas one of the most affordable states to buy a home.

Best: ​Tennessee (5)

Alex Grichenko/iStockphoto
  • Property Taxes: 0.75%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 3.97%
  • Median Listing Price: $169,900

Cheaper housing in Tennessee makes the dream of homeownership more accessible, especially when the costs of owning are compared to renting. Low property taxes and mortgage rates will also mean fewer housing costs for Tennessee homebuyers.

Best: ​Missouri (4)

  • Property Taxes: 1.02%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 3.96%
  • Median Listing Price: $139,900

Missouri homebuyers can easily save for and afford a home, thanks to a combination of cheap homes and above-average incomes in the state; the median household income of $56,630 is just 2.5 times the median listing price. Lower mortgage rates will also help local homebuyers pay less.

Best: Arkansas (3)

  • Property Taxes: 0.62%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 3.97%
  • Median Listing Price: $149,900

Even though Arkansas has one of the lower median household incomes at $44,922, low housing prices keep the American dream of homeownership within locals' reach. Arkansans buying a home this spring will also benefit from lower mortgage rates. And with the state's low property taxes and inexpensive houses, property taxes will add just $77 a month to housing costs for a typical homeowner.

Best: Colorado (2)

  • Property Taxes: 0.61%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 4.09%
  • Median Listing Price: $350,000

With high home prices, Colorado homebuyers will need to carefully weigh the costs of this major purchase to make sure they can afford it. In many cases, renting might still be cheaper than buying. However, Colorado home values saw the biggest increase of any state over 2015, up $29,600 on average, showing a big potential to quickly earn equity. Low property taxes will also help keep housing expenses manageable.

Best: Maine (1)

  • Property Taxes: 1.28%
  • Average Mortgage APR: 3.95%
  • Median Listing Price: $199,900

With a big jump in Maine home values (up $23,100 in 2015, on average), now is a good time for buyers to invest in some real estate -- both to capitalize on equity growth and avoid getting priced out of the market. This is especially true since still-low home prices and below-average mortgage rates will help make home buying affordable and, for many, cheaper than renting.

Click here for the full, 50-state ranking.