Well, it depends.

There is not an answer that will work for everybody. Usually, the framework for this starts with cash flow vs. appreciation. Then the analysis gets more granular and includes things like growing populations, job growth, diverse economies, property taxes, favorable tenant laws, crime, schools, and more. Each investor is different and will have different risk tolerances. Sometimes, it is best to make a matrix of all your investment criteria and see which major metropolitan areas fit those requirements.

Some of the top cash flow markets we have seen include (in no particular order):

Joliet, Illinois
Trenton, New Jersey
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Montgomery, Alabama
North Point, North Carolina
Palm Bay, Florida.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Indianapolis, Indiana
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Houston, Texas
St. Louis, Missouri
Memphis, Tennessee
Cleveland, Ohio
Akron, Ohio

Some of the top appreciation markets we have seen include (in no particular order):

Denver, Colorado
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado
Nashville, Tennessee
Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
Phoenix, Arizona
Austin, Texas
Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida
Charlotte, North Carolina
Dallas, Texas
Atlanta, Georgia

Of course, sometimes you can find good cash-flowing properties in areas known for appreciation and vice versa. Regardless of which market you pick to invest in, it’s always a good idea to do your due diligence because you’ll be living with that decision for a long time, most likely.