While most people who are house hunting must stay within a particular metro area to be near their work, family and friends, those with plenty of flexibility may want to pay close attention to the recent analysis by Realtor.com that shows where it’s hardest and easiest to buy a home.

While the usual suspects — think San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle — are still among the toughest places to buy, there are some surprises near the top of the list: Buffalo; Rochester, N.Y.; Milwaukee; and Columbus, Ohio.

The analysis compared the number of listings per 1,000 households in each metro area. In addition, Realtor.com’s report shows the decline in the number of active listings in January 2020 compared to January 2019 for each market, along with the median listing price and the change in listing price year-over-year.

Markets where it’s hard to buy a home that are a little unexpected, besides those listed above, include Harrisburg, Pa.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Madison, Wis.; Cincinnati and Akron, Ohio. Those locations, according to a press statement by Realtor.com’s chief economist Danielle Hale, are places where houses are relatively affordable and the communities are attractive to first-time buyers. Homes get snapped up quickly and inventory is low in those cities.

The Washington, D.C., market ranks as the 13th toughest market, with 8.9 listings per household, a decline of 23 percent compared to January 2019. The median listing price in January 2020 was $479,950, an increase of 11 percent compared with January 2019.

The top three easiest markets for finding a home are all in Florida: Cape Coral-Fort Myers, with 38 listings per 1,000 households; followed by the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach market, with 32 listings per 1,000 households; and Daytona Beach, which has 31 listings per 1,000 households.

Those markets where it’s relatively easy to buy a home are not struggling markets, Hale said in a news release. Generally, these are locations with more homes available for sale and more moderate price growth. Four metro areas in Florida are on the list of easiest markets, three are in Connecticut, two in South Carolina and two in Texas.

In Cape Coral-Fort Myers, the easiest market to find a home, there were 38 listings per 1,000 households in January 2020, down 22 percent compared to January 2019. The median listing price in January 2020 was $325,045, an increase of 8 percent compared to January 2019.

For the full report, click here.

Read more: