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This city is the No. 1 place to buy a home if you want it to increase in value — and it's not in California or New York

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In most places, the value of U.S. homes has grown steadily over the last few decades. However, some cities have fared far better than others — especially Austin, Texas.

Out of the 400 cities ranked by average home price growth since 1998, Austin takes the top spot, according to a recent SmartAsset study. Across all metro areas, home values increased an average of 154% from the first quarter of 1998 through the fourth quarter of 2022.

In Austin, however, home values have soared 354% over the past 25 years. It is one of only eight cities where home values increased by 300% or more in that time.

The rest of the top 15 markets ranked by price growth are mostly large coastal cities in California and Florida.

A thriving tech hub, Austin was a migration hotspot during the height of pandemic, but home values in the city had already been steadily climbing for over a decade.

It's followed by Bend, Oregon, a small mountain city known for its access to outdoor activities like skiing and hiking. The city's growing population has exacerbated a preexisting shortage of homes, which has pushed home prices higher.

Boise, Idaho, was another popular migration destination during the height of the pandemic, but like Austin, prices were already rising for years — well before it became known as a "Zoomtown." While home prices in this market recently dipped, they are still up 306% over 25 years.

Overall, California dominated the rankings, with eight out of the top 15 cities for home-price growth. Considering that the state has the largest shortage of homes in the country, it's not surprising that unmet demand has driven up prices for existing properties, especially in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Home prices in Florida have also grown steadily over the years, with Miami and Naples making the top 15 rankings for price growth.

Not all homes have been cash cows, however, especially in Rust Belt states like Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. In some cities, home values only increased by an average 80% or less since 1998.

Montgomery, Alabama, ranked last on the list, with home values growing by an average of about 60%. 

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