With Christmas just one week away, RealtyTrac has released a list of the nicest and naughtiest U.S. housing markets based on a number of factors, including foreclosure rate, crime ratings, unemployment rate, school scores, housing affordability, and sex offenders per capita.
Cary was chosen as the nicest housing market based on the city's low unemployment by county rate (4.40 percent), sex offender per capita rate (0.021 percent, or an average of 2.12 sex offenders for every 10,000 people), low foreclosure inventory (0.17 percent, or 17 foreclosures for every 1,000 housing units), total crime index (20.1 percent, for a crime rating of A), average elementary school score for 2013 (1.0979) and home affordability, or the percentage of median income to buy median-priced homes (21.38 percent).
In all, there were 55 cities with a population of 100,000 or more that were designated as nice by RealtyTrac. All 55 were below the national average in the categories of unemployment, sex offenders, and foreclosures, and above the national average for elementary school scores. The unemployment average for the 55 cities was 4.6 percent, well below the national rate of 5.8 percent; the cities had a combined foreclosure rate of 24 for every 1,000 housing units and four sex offenders for every 10,000 people. The combined school score for the nice cities was twice the national average.
All 55 nice cities had a crime rating of B or above, and 20 of them had a crime rating of A, according to RealtyTrac. The combined crime rate of the 55 nice cities was about one-third of the national average.
Six of the top 10 nice housing markets were located in Texas. After Cary, North Carolina, the top 10 is as follows: second, Fairfax, Virginia; third, Pearland, Texas; fourth, Irvine, California; fifth, Frisco, Texas; sixth, Sugar Land, Texas; seventh, Richardson, Texas; eight, Katy, Texas; ninth, College Station, Texas; 10th, Fremont, California.
In contrast, RealtyTrac designated 20 housing markets as "naughty" based on the same factors. Naughty cities all had unemployment, sex offender, and foreclosure inventory rates higher than the national average. School scores in naughty cities were below the national average, and all 20 cities had a crime rating of C or below.
Combined, the 20 naughty cities had school scores nearly half the national average; crime rates nearly twice the national average; an average unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, two full percentage points higher than the national average; an average of 128 foreclosures for every 1,000 housing units; and an average of 27 sex offenders for every 10,000 people.
The "naughtiest" housing market in the U.S. belonged to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Milwaukee had a sex offender per capita rate of 0.289 percent, an unemployment by county rate of 6.18 percent, a 1.13 percent foreclosure rate, a 0.12 average elementary school score, a crime grade of D, and a housing affordability rate of 22.18 percent, RealtyTrac reported.
After Milwaukee, RealtyTrac's top 10 naughty list is as follows: second, Detroit Michigan; third, Stockton, California; fourth, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; fifth, Fresno, California; sixth, Sacramento, California; seventh, Rockford, Illinois; eighth, Springfield, Massachusetts; ninth, Hartford, Connecticut; and 10th, Paterson, New Jersey.