For years I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, zip code 02139, average family income $74,000, average home value $506,000. Then I moved an hour west, to Orange, Massachusetts, zip code 01364, average income $42,000, average home value $160,000.
Home prices out here have pretty much been flat for a decade and I won’t bet they’ll start rising next year. The population of the surrounding county, Franklin County, has stayed the same for years, except now it’s older - the average age is 45.
But one important thing DID change in the past five years - the population aged 20 to 34 grew 7 percent.
This is the KEY, the difference between small markets that have investing potential and those where nothing much will happen. Are young people moving in or out? A 7 percent increase in five years is the minimum you want to see, but you’ll find such opportunities around almost EVERY big city in the country; about 400 counties in the US did better than that, many with growth from 10 and 20 percent.
The US government is generous with information. At https://factfinder.census.gov use either Community Facts or Guided Search. Restrict yourself to counties or markets with income in the $40,000 to $50,000 range; you could go higher, but don’t go lower. Check out the counties in your area and some individual towns.
Do your homework, then get started with your empire!