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Best and Worst Places to Buy a House

Whether you're looking for an investment property or a place to live, here's a look at the cities you should seek out and avoid in 2008.
January 23, 2008

The housing crunch and the excessive inventory--exceeding 10 months on resale homes--continues to take its toll on housing prices. But over the long term, housing is still a good investment. In fact, it's more than an investment; it's a home. Plus, you're not really saving anything by renting, as the costs of renting and owning are about equal (well, owning may be a little more). The tax benefits of home ownership far outweigh renting, too. With good housing prices in many great areas, this may indeed be the time to buy.

So now that I've convinced you this is a good time to buy a home, the next question is, Where do you buy one? No matter where you look, you should check out some basic economic fundamentals before buying. Is job growth stable in the area? Is income keeping up with inflation? Is crime above the national average? Is there a higher-than-average rate of foreclosures? These issues and others play a factor when deciding where to buy a house.

As a real estate investor and analyst, it's my job to provide buyers with qualified information on where to buy--and where to stay away from. Here are my thoughts for 2008 based on the indicators noted above.

The Top Places to Buy
Whether you're an investor like me or you're looking to purchase that next move up, here are my picks for the best areas to buy a home:

Places to Avoid
And now for the places you definitely want avoid:

Danielle Babb is an experienced real estate investor and specialist on the use of technology and real estate. She is also the co-author, with mortgage broker and realtor Bill Nazur, ofFinding Foreclosures: An Insider's Guide to Cashing In on This Hidden Market, available from Entrepreneur Press.