Tampa Named The #1 U.S. City For Veterans

Tampa, Florida, is the number one U.S. city for veterans seeking affordability, comfort, and opportunity.

That’s according to a new survey from Veterans United Home Loans,  which looked at the country’s 500 biggest metros to determine which offered the qualities most valued by veterans and their families.

Behind Tampa were Rochester, MN.; Wichita Falls, TX; Fargo, ND.; Virginia Beach, VA.; Watertown, NY; Charleston, SC; Medford, OR; Altoona, PA, and Sioux Falls, SD.

“Our in-depth analysis factors in feedback and priorities from hundreds of Veterans we surveyed, so we can really dig into what those who serve are looking for when it comes to planting roots and building communities,” said Chris Birk, vice president of mortgage insight at Veterans United. 

“These cities, both big and small, are great places to raise a family, offer healthy job markets, an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy for those kicking off the next chapter after the military, and provide ample opportunities to connect with fellow Veterans.”

Tampa might seem an odd choice for those who have been following home prices in the last few years. Florida has produced some of the most expensive metros since the pandemic buying frenzy.

Investors flocked to Tampa, in particular. It is one of six metros home to 36.8% of the nation’s institutionally owned single-family homes, and about 50% of houses owned by institutions were bought after December 2019.

But prices have trended down in recent months. Plus, factoring in other concerns pushes the Florida metro to the top spot. Cost of living, crime, and quality of life are some of the biggest concerns for veterans seeking a new home, and it ranks well in these areas.

High housing prices are affecting veterans and service members. The military offers a Basic Housing Allowance for active members, while veterans receive a monthly housing allowance. But soaring home price appreciation and record-setting rents have made it difficult for both active military and veterans.

Changes to the National Association of Realtors’ fee structure also have unique disadvantages for servicemembers. Moving forward, sellers will be expected to negotiate with real estate professionals, and buyers will have to enter into agreements with, and pay for, their own realtors.

For some buyers, this may translate into a cheaper overall experience, depending on what is negotiated for as part of the sale. But VA loans limit certain fees that a buyer may pay, including real estate commissions.

Under the new setup, VA buyers would still be able to purchase a home, but the trick is to discover the simplest way to get their agents paid if they choose to work with one.

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