Buying your first home, especially in this market can be daunting. I know personally, that my rent is increasing by $200 a month. But anything I’d be interested in purchasing starts at $300,000 pre-bidding war. Comparable properties were $175-$200,000 just two years ago. So it comes as a surprise to me that North Carolina has two cities that rank as the best for starter homes. Yes, you read that correctly. Things may be bad here, but they could be a lot worse.

For many individuals or couples, your first home is a stepping stone. It’s a way to build equity. But it’s not as easy these days as it was for our parents. And like any HGTV show will tell you, you’re going to have to sacrifice. For many, this means location as that mainly dictates the affordability and availability of starter homes.

But what is considered a starter home?

Starter homes are essentially smallerĀ andĀ more affordable properties. At least in theory. They are typically marketed at first-time homebuyers. While there isn’t a set in stone definition many would agree that a starter home is usually 1,700 square feet or less. You can expect them to have 2 bedrooms, and be listed for less than the local median price.

The Study

Storage Cafe looked at over 100 U.S. cities and ranked them across more than 20 factors to come up with these rankings. Factors included home values for 2-bedroom homes, 5-year sales activity involving properties averaging 1,700 square feet or less, mortgage rates, incomes, and cost of living. This gave them the cities that provide the best opportunities for those looking to break into homeownership. And the good news is that two North Carolina cities made the top 20 places for starter homes. The bad news? It wasn’t Charlotte or any of our suburbs.