15 Cities You Won't Be Able to Afford in 5 Years

Within the next 5 years, these cities may be too expensive for today’s average home buyer.
Updated May 2, 2024
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Homes seem to be becoming more expensive to purchase and own over time, considering factors like increasing home values and interest rates.

If you are thinking about things like retiring in a few years, and you do not want to keep paying off your mortgage into retirement, you may want to reconsider buying a home in these areas.

Based on Redfin housing trend data, the cost of buying a home in the following cities is likely to continue increasing significantly in the next five years.

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Worcester, MA

Jacob/Adobe Worcester Massachusetts on a cloudy day

Worcester, MA, isn’t necessarily the most expensive place to buy a home, with a median sale price of $416,000 in February 2024.

However, the very competitive real estate market here has grown 10.7% year-over-year in a challenging market climate. The median sale price per square foot has also increased to $248.

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Buffalo, NY

Neil/Adobe buffalo ny tall skyscrapers at sunset

The median sold price of a home here was just $180,000 in February of 2023, and while that’s very affordable overall (especially when you consider NYC rates), the region has seen home values climb at incredible rates.

In fact, home prices are up about 20% year-over-year, making it one of the most competitive real estate markets in the US.

Madison, WI

soupstock/Adobe downtown Madison Wisconsin buildings with Capitol of Wisconsin

Wisconsin may not be the first place you think of when it comes to high home values, but they’ve risen over 18.7% from February of 2023 to 2024.

The median sale price of a home in this city was $439,000, and the median sale price per square foot stood at $247.

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Bakersfield, CA

Matt Gush/Adobe  downtown Bakersfield California USA

In February of 2024, the median price for a home in Bakersfield was $400,000. That’s up about 5.4% from the previous year, making it a competitive market overall.

Homes often swell within 31 days, and more than 280 homes were sold in the city in February alone.

Providence, RI

sbgoodwin/Adobe skyline of providence rhode island

With home prices up about 6% in February 2024, the Providence real estate market is another very competitive area.

Homes spend less than 33 days on the market, and inventory is considered moderate. Yet, with a median sale price of $424,000 and a price per square foot of $227, this is an area that’s likely to see home prices grow to new heights.

Columbus, OH

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe columbus ohio usa skyline on river

A Midwest town with lots to offer, Columbus is another hidden city with fast-growing home prices.

In fact, most homes in Columbus received an average of two offers and had a median sale price of $273,000 in February 2024. Over 740 homes were sold in February this year, up from 693 in the previous year, indicating rising demand.

That’s up about 10.1% from the previous year, making it very competitive marketing overall.

Roswell, GA

rodphotography/Adobe Arial view of Roswell Georgia

The housing market in Roswell is highly competitive, even though it tends to feel like a small city.

Still, with home prices up 14% in February of 2024 over the previous year, it’s hard not to see this area becoming highly expensive within a few years.

The median sale price of a home here is $638,000, which is already one of the most expensive regions in the US.

Charlotte, NC

Kevin Ruck/Adobe charlotte north carolina skyline during day

The median price for a home in Charlotte was $400,000 in February of 2024. That month, more than 842 homes were sold in the area, an increase of about 20 homes over the previous year.

The Charlotte housing market is very competitive, with home prices up about 8.1% in 2024 over the previous year.

Atlanta, GA

Luciano Mortula-LGM/Adobe atlanta georgia usa

In Atlanta, home prices are also on the rise, reaching a median sale price of $430,00 in February 2024.

That’s about an 11.7% increase from February 2023, making it one of the most competitive in the country. The median sale price per square foot is also competitively high at $273.

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Orlando, FL

lunamarina/Adobe Orlando skyline from Lake Eola

Orlando is known for everything from theme parks to hot summers, but it’s also seeing a lot of demand in the real estate market. The median sale price of a home in February of 2024 was $400,000.

What’s remarkable is that it’s up nearly 16% from the year before. The price per square foot, $244, is about 6.6% higher than the previous year.

Prescott, AZ

Allison/Adobe prescott square at sunset

It seems everyone wants to move to Prescott, where the median sale price of a home hit $618,000 in February of 2024.

What’s most impressive about this is that this is a 25.2% increase from the previous year. The median sale price per square foot is huge at $301, which is up about 3.1% from last year.

Philadelphia, PA

andreykr/Adobe philadelphia skyline at night

The median sale price of a home in February 2024 in Philadelphia was $242,000. That’s not too bad until you realize that home prices were up 7.6% in the previous year.

With 925 homes selling in February alone, with a median price per square foot of $186, home prices here are growing quickly.

Folsom, CA

Jed/Adobe Rainbow bridge in Folsom CA

Folsom, a community part of the Sacramento Metro area, is also a highly competitive place to live, with the median sale price of homes reaching $808,000 in February of 2024.

That’s an increase of 15.2% over the previous year. It’s about $357 per square foot in this city and over 50 homes were sold in this small community in the month of February alone.

Las Vegas, NV

lucky-photo/Adobe Las Vegas strip at sunny day

The median sale price for a home in Las Vegas was $426,000 in February of 2024. That’s about 10.7% higher than the previous year.

The market saw an impressive 830 homes sold in February, indicating the very high demand.

Knoxville, TN

Kevin Ruck/Adobe knoxville tennessee skyline

Another competitive market is Knoxville, where home prices increased by about 8% from February 2023 to 2024, with 200 homes sold in February this year.

The median sale price in this area is still $319,000 lower than in many other areas, but that could change over time.

Bottom line

baranq/Adobe coworkers brainstorming and working on project on lunch break in cafe

If you’re hoping to keep costs as low as possible, you may want to rent to avoid costly home repairs and increasing interest rates.

Yet, with a bit of work, you can still find competitively priced real estate markets throughout the US, especially if you’re willing to look beyond the large and in-demand city.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.

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