Baltimore on list of top places 'for working towards a home purchase'
The Baltimore region comes in second on a new ranking of the best places for buying a home -- based primarily on the strength of the job market.
The list of top places "for working towards a home purchase," put together by Move Inc., ranked metro areas by the number of job openings per capita. Regions with lots of job openings but unemployment above the national average were knocked out of contention, as were places where home prices recorded big drops in the past year. (The company, which runs real estate sites such as Realtor.com, was looking for relative stability.)
Why a ranking based primarily on the job market rather than the housing market? Because few people can afford a house if they don't have a job.
"Buying a home in an area with an established job market or expanding industry can help provide workers more security in the future, especially as the economy continues to fluctuate," Move's CEO, Steve Berkowitz, said in a statement.
Here's what Move said of the Baltimore region: "Baltimore has the second highest job postings per capita in the bunch with 104 postings per 1,000 people. It is home to energy and financial services powerhouses Constellation Energy and T Rowe Price. Competition for jobs isn't too fierce with an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent."
It's all relative, of course -- that feels like a heck of a lot of competition compared with pre-recession days. The jobless rate was 3.8 percent in 2007.
You won't be surprised by No. 1 on the Move list: Washington, with 147 job postings per 1,000 people.
Both the Baltimore and Washington regions have long been beneficiaries of federal spending, their economies boosted by contracting -- from defense to IT -- and big agencies with headquarters here. With the looming federal deficit, that future is cloudy. Contractors are already cutting jobs.
On the other hand, it wouldn't be easy for Uncle Sam to actually pick up and move, which gives this area one advantage over other company towns.
Here's the rest of Move's top-10 list: