• The 10 Best Cities to Move to in 2014
  • The 10 Best Cities to Move to in 2014

    If you aren't planning to move to a new city, you're going to want to after reading about these ten metropolises. (Metropoli? Metropolisises? I don't know.)

    My troubling semantics and grammar belies the amount of analysis, research, and hard-boiled number crunching that went into developing this list.

    We drew information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and facts from Forbes.com in order to come up with the our criteria for our best cities to move to in 2014.

    If you want to be bored to death by a lot of dry jargon explaining how we came up with this list, including the criteria that we used, read on. If you'd like to just skip to the good part - the list itself - click here.


    Criteria and Selection Process

    We used the following four criteria to judge the largest 150 cities in the United States:

    Unemployment

    To be considered, a city must currently have an unemployment level less than the national average of 6.5%.

    Best city for unemployment: Salt Lake City, Utah, at 3.4%.

    "Worst of the top 10" for unemployment: Tampa, Florida at 6.4%.

    Median Income

    To be considered, a city must currently have a median income of at least the national average of approximatly $44,000 per year.

    Best city for median income: Seattle, Washington at $61,000 per year.

    "Worst of the top 10" for median income: 4-way tie - Tampa, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Houston, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah, all at approximately the national average of $44,000.

    Projected Home Value Growth over 3 Years

    To be considered, home values in a given city must be predicted to grow greater than 20% over the next three years, as judged by Forbes real estate analysts.

    Best city for projected home value growth: Phoenix, Arizona at a whopping 41%. This means that if you bought a home in Phoenix at the city average home price of $196,000, you should be able to sell it three years down the road for no less than $276,000 - an increase of nearly $80,000!

    "Worst" of the Top 10 for projected home value growth: Houston, Texas at a still-impressive 24%. This means that if you bought a home in Houston at the city average home price of $191,000, you should be able to sell it three years down the road for no less than $236,840.

    Home Affordability

    For this criteria, we compared each city's median income to that city's average home price. The math is simple: higher incomes and lower home prices make buying a home more affordable!

    Best city for home affordability: Tie - Fort Worth, Texas and Boise, Idaho, both with an "affordability index" of approximately 0.303 ($51,000 median income divided by $168,000 average home price).

    "Worst" of the Top 10 for home affordability: Salt Lake City, Utah, with an "affordability index" of approximately 0.186 ($44,000 median income divided by $236,000 average home price).




    #1 - Boise, Idaho


    Boise, Idaho
    Image courtesy of The Knowles Gallery

    Boise's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Boise, Idaho

    Unemployment #5
    Median Income #3
    Home Value Growth #2
    Home Affordability #1!

    If you love hiking, biking, and the great outdoors, you're going to love Boise: the Hull's Gulch trail system can be accessed directly from 8th street, and Boise is also home to the extensive Boise River Greenbelt.


    Boise, Idaho Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 0.6m
    Unemployment: 4.8% (1.7% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $168,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +30%

    Median Income: $51,000
    Average Commute: 16 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 95,000
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 50,000


    #2 - Seattle, Washington


    Seattle, Washington
    Image courtesy of Dougtone

    Seattle's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Seattle, Washington

    Unemployment #3
    Median Income #1!
    Home Value Growth #4
    Home Affordability #9

    Ah, good old Rain City. Did you know that Seattle actually ranks 44th in the US in terms of average annual rainfall? Whether you're at CenturyLink or Safeco Field watching the Seahawks or Mariners, or Alki Beach watching actual seahawks and mariners, you're bound to enjoy this gem of the west coast.


    Seattle, Washington Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 2.6m
    Unemployment: 4.7% (1.8% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $319,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +33%

    Median Income: $61,000
    Average Commute: 22 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 314,640
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 141,197


    #3 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida


    Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    Image courtesy of Chris Corwin

    Ft. Lauderdale's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

    Unemployment #4
    Median Income #2
    Home Value Growth #5
    Home Affordability #6

    With an average year-round temperature of 77 degrees and an annual 3,000 hours of sunshine, Ft. Lauderdale is pretty much perfect for anyone who isn't a vampire or day-walker. The city boasts over 4,000 restaurants, 60 golf courses, 12 shopping malls, and 130-odd nightclubs to keep you entertained — and if you ever get tired of that, you can escape to a cruise ship at nearby Port Everglades.


    Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 1.7m
    Unemployment: 4.8% (1.7% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $216,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +33%

    Median Income: $51,000
    Average Commute: 20 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 98,539
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 54,015


    #4 - Phoenix, Arizona


    Phoenix, Arizona
    Image courtesy of Love My Tours

    Phoenix's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Phoenix, Arizona

    Unemployment #9
    Median Income #5
    Home Value Growth #1!
    Home Affordability #5

    Although Phoenix is technically a desert, you'd be wrong to conjure images of dusty streets and tumbleweeds. Get some exercise with a stroll through the lush greens and vibrant flora of South Mountain Park or or cool off and relax while tubing down the rippling waters of the Salt River — either way, there's a lot more to America's 6th largest city than cacti and sand dunes.


    Phoenix, Arizona Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 4.3m
    Unemployment: 6.2% (0.3% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $196,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +41%

    Median Income: $49,000
    Average Commute: 23 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 472,065
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 272,514


    #5 - Orlando, Florida


    Orlando, Florida
    Image courtesy of Scott Akerman

    Orlando's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Orlando, Florida

    Unemployment #6
    Median Income #8
    Home Value Growth #3
    Home Affordability #4

    Yes, it's true that Orlando is "The Theme Park Capital of the World", but there's so much more to "The City Beautiful" than Disney and Universal Studios. If fine arts are your bag, you can catch a production of King Lear at the Orlando Sharespeare Theater. If you need to blow some of your hard-earned money, The Florida Mall has you covered — it's one of the largest single-story malls in America!


    Orlando, Florida Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 2m
    Unemployment: 5.4% (1.1% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $172,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +35%

    Median Income: $44,000
    Average Commute: 22 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 153,499
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 87,228


    #6 - Minneapolis, Minnesota


    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Image courtesy of Joe Bielawa

    Minneapolis' Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Unemployment #2
    Median Income #6
    Home Value Growth #7
    Home Affordability #8

    Don't let the name fool you — the "Mighty" Mississippi River isn't the only big thing about this midwestern metropolis. Boasting the fifth-highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, the "Mini Apple" is a fantastic place to find a corner office in which to hang your diploma (and collect a hefty salary). The appropriately-nicknamed "City of Lakes" also boasts abundant waterways — over 20 lakes and wetlands in addition to the Mississippi — most of which are conncted by the Chain of Lakes parks.


    Minneapolis, Minnesota Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 3.2m
    Unemployment: 4.2% (2.3% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $209,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +31%

    Median Income: $47,000
    Average Commute: 20 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 230,084
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 102,922


    #7 - Fort Worth, Texas


    Ft. Worth, Texas
    Image courtesy of Texasfeel

    Ft. Worth's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Ft. Worth, Texas

    Unemployment #8
    Median Income #4
    Home Value Growth #9
    Home Affordability #2

    Although it's planted firmly in the South, Fort Worth's motto "Where the West Begins" is entirely appropriate. Whether you call it "Cowtown", "Funky Town", or "Panther City", Fort Worth is truly a cultural gateway to the west — and there's plenty to do. Slip your roach pokers on and head down to Fort Worth's historic Stockyards any day of the week to see cattle being herded down Main Street for an authentic cowboy experience, or head over to Fort Worth's vibrant Sundance Square for all the culture, nightlife, and fine dining you can handle.


    Ft. Worth, Texas Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 2.1m
    Unemployment: 6.2% (0.3% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $168,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +25%

    Median Income: $51,000
    Average Commute: 21 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 222,285
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 132,439


    #8 - Salt Lake City, Utah


    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Image courtesy of Garrett / CountyLemonade

    Salt Lake City's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Salt Lake City, Utah

    Unemployment #1!
    Median Income #7
    Home Value Growth #8
    Home Affordability #10

    You don't have to be a Mormon to fall in love with living in Salt Lake City — in fact, less than half of SLC's population are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! Whether you grab your skis and hit Salt Lake City's famous slopes or rub elbows with Hollywood elite at the Sundance Film Festival, "The Crossroads of the West" has a lot to offer for residents of all ages, interestes, and religions.


    Salt Lake City, Utah Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 1.1m
    Unemployment: 3.4% (3.1% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $236,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +31%

    Median Income: $44,000
    Average Commute: 17 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 110,435
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 55,710


    #9 - Tampa, Florida


    Tampa, Florida
    Image courtesy of Sonny Side Up!

    Tampa's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Tampa, Florida

    Unemployment #10
    Median Income #10
    Home Value Growth #6
    Home Affordability #3

    When Forbes ranks you among its best outdoor cities in the United States, you know you're living the high life. Rake in the rays while you watch the Buccaneers move the pigskin down the field, or soak up some culture at one of Tampa's four stage/performing arts venues. If nightlife is more your thing, the Channelside, Ybor City, SoHo, and International Plaza districts will definitely get your blood pumping. In fact, Tampa comes in at #6 on Maxim Magazine's ranking of America's top party cities.


    Tampa, Florida Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 1.1m
    Unemployment: 3.4% (3.1% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $236,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +31%

    Median Income: $44,000
    Average Commute: 17 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 110,435
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 55,710


    #10 - Houston, Texas


    Houston, Texas
    Image courtesy of Kelly Reed Photography

    Houston's Ratings
    (In comparison to the other cities in this list)

    About Houston, Texas

    Unemployment #7
    Median Income #9
    Home Value Growth #10
    Home Affordability #7

    The days when you had to be an oil baron to enjoy living in Houston are long in the past. As the largest city in Texas, and the fourth-largest in the entire United States, modern metropolitan Houston has plenty to offer for every walk of life. Houston's museum district includes 20 museums, galleries, and cultural centers that collectively draw over 8 million people each year. If culture's not your thing, look no further than Houston's massive (and famed) Galleria Mall. If you can pay for it with a credit card, there's a very good chance you'll find it at the Galleria.


    Houston, Texas Facts and Figures for 2014

    Population: 5.8m
    Unemployment: 6.2% (0.3% below natl. avg.)
    Average Home Price: $191,000
    3-Year Home Value Growth Forecast: +24%

    Median Income: $44,000
    Average Commute: 23 minutes
    "White Collar" Jobs: 817,930
    "Blue Collar" Jobs: 530,822


    Did our rankings get your mouth watering for a move? If so , have you considered using moving labor instead of a traditional moving company? On average, our services are $200 less expensive than a local moving crew, and vastly more convenient than a national van line. Plainly put: if you need moving help of any sort, you've already found the very best company on the planet. And yes - we know that's a bold statement, and we're fully prepared to back it up.


    Sources:

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    Over 40 million Americans move every year, and for most of them it's an incredibly stressful, confusing, and costly experience. It doesn't have to be that way, and it's from that simple notion that SML was born.