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One of the pandemic’s only silver linings has been the remote-first mentality that inspired people to get on the move. Outdoor lovers have left urban centers for nature-rich residences in the Midwest. Gen-Zers set out toward trending cities like Salt Lake City and Louisville, Kentucky. Meanwhile, we’re over here thinking, wouldn’t it be great if there was a place for people who love to renovate? Say, a city with an ample supply of inexpensive yet spacious fixer-uppers? As luck would have it, a recent analysis by StorageCafe that stacked up inventory, mortgage rates, lot sizes, and proximity of affordable self-storage units (you know, to stow all your stuff during the demo) revealed that such a place does exist—many places in fact. 

Based on the data, there are several metro areas that support reno seekers better than others. Across the 50 biggest cities, Milwaukee is host to a hefty inventory of homes in need of a little TLC. These run-down listings make up 12 percent of the market, which is almost double the average in other areas. Not only is there plenty to choose from, but the prices are right. On average, the diamonds in the rough around this region are listed at around $80,000—that’s 59 percent lower than a more turnkey choice. If the Dairy State isn’t your jam, here are all of the top five cities we’d call renovator’s gold mines, along with their average home prices. 

  1. Milwaukee ($79,900) 
  2. Philadelphia ($145,000)
  3. Detroit ($59,900)
  4. Memphis ($109,900)
  5. Baltimore ($107,500)

As you start casing the listings for your next passion project, it helps to go in with a bit of vision. Love to entertain? Take a cue from this patio-adjacent kitchen in California that opens up to another (outdoor) kitchen. If amped-up curb appeal is a priority, grab some ideas from this unsightly vinyl exterior that was transformed into an enviable front-porch perch. And if creating the perfect place to unwind is more your speed, an ultra-cozy library might be just the inspiration you need to get moving.