The Smart Buys in a Scary Market

We know: Between the topsy-turvy prices and the subprime mess, it's a real estate nightmare out there. But after grilling dozens of brokers and hundreds of industry experts, we're pleased to report there are some bright spots for jittery house-hunters (and owners). A road map to 29 neighborhoods and towns that are holding their value, or are poised to be big winners when the next boom rolls around.

best places 2008

Photograph by Fredrik Brodén

New to the Market

You’re looking to purchase your first home. You also want to make sure you’re not going to get burned. Point your search to one of these spots, and know you’ll be making a sound investment.

A Less-Costly Free Education

Most towns with great public schools also have greatly overpriced homes. But there are some still-affordable areas where high test scores can be had without taking out that jumbo loan.

Trading Up

You’re moving up in the world, and soon, you hope, into more square footage. These bust-bucking areas also offer the promise of sweet deals and steady long-term gains.

The Bright Side of Foreclosures

Yes, it’s bad news for those losing their home. But their loss could be your way into a prime neighborhood.


You might not net as much as you would’ve three years ago. But when you’re ready to cash out (and give up the chores), your nest egg would be put to wise use here.

Havens for the Recently Unhitched

Two towns that offer the good life for those who’ve given up their better half.

The Fearless Flipper

Would you want to be a real estate investor right now? You would if you were Fran Yerardi, house-flipper extraordinaire, who believes almost no property is too far gone to be rehabbed for a profit—and is more than happy to share his secrets with those willing to roll the dice with him.