Our list of best cities for veteran homebuyers considers some of the most important factors returning service members told us they value in their search for a place to call home.
If you’re ready to begin your search for the home of your dreams in one of our Best Cities, get started by learning about the incredible benefits of a VA loan.
Every day, U.S. military members around the world defend freedoms we often take for granted. But when their time serving our country comes to an end, these freedoms can become their greatest challenge.
Finding employment and a place to call home is no easy task for the thousands of veterans who transition back into civilian life each year. That’s why Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading VA purchase lender, decided to create a list of veteran-friendly cities to help these individuals narrow down their house-hunting search. Because when it comes to finding a job and a place to live, some cities may provide a better fit than others for veterans and military families.
Here’s how we came up with our list of the best cities for veterans to live.
First, we compared 100 of the most populated U.S. cities across three key dimensions: Military Culture and Services, Economic Wellness and Livability.
Next, we evaluated each city by using 18 relevant variables, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Variables were gathered from Veteran input on a social media survey and other similar studies. Each metric was weighted based off their importance to veterans. In the end, each city was scored and ranked in each of the 18 variables. The city’s rank in each category was multiplied by that variable’s weight.
The final rankings were determined by the city’s total score, with the lowest score winning it all. For our data sample, we only considered the city limits and excluded the metro area.
You can see our data here.
- High importance to veterans:
- Veteran unemployment rate
- Percentage of monthly income spent on monthly mortgage payments
- Percentage of monthly income spent on rent
- Percentage of Veterans living below the poverty line
- Veteran population as a proportion of total population
- Cost of living compared to national average
- Job growth percentage as of 2015
- Educational attainment (percentage of citizens with high school diploma or higher)
- Rate of growth of VA Loans since 2012
- Medium importance to veterans:
- Proximity of military bases within 50 miles
- Number of veteran-owned businesses per 1,000 citizens
- Number of VA benefits facilities within 50 miles
- GreatSchools rating
- Civilian unemployment rate
- Housing Affordability
- Low importance to veterans:
- Civilian population
- Average temperature
- Crime rate
- American FactFinder from the U.S. Census Bureau. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://factfinder.census.gov/
- National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics Home. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://www.va.gov/vetdata/
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits Facilities Location Finder. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp
- S. Military Bases – Air Force Bases, Army Bases, Navy Bases. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from https://militarybases.com/
- MortgageDataWeb – The Source for Mortgage Origination Market Share and Lender Rankings. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://www.mortgagedataweb.com/MDWelcome/
- H+T Map and Affordability Index. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://htaindex.cnt.org/map/
- City Profiles. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/
- Best Places to Live. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://www.bestplaces.net/
- GreatSchools City School Rating. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://www.greatschools.org/
- S. Climate Data: Temperature – Precipitation – Sunshine – Snowfall. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from http://www.usclimatedata.com/
- Numbeo Crime Rate Data. (n.d.) Retrieved October 2016, from https://www.numbeo.com/crime/