In terms of reliability, forecasting real estate trends is somewhere between a crystal ball and statistical analysis; there’s some guesswork involved, but there are also some smart people making remarkably on-the-nose predictions. The post-election market is sure to bear some surprises, but experts are already talking about things like more millennials and baby boomers buying homes and the popularity of some Midwestern cities.

Among the most interesting revelations? These entries on the list of the best places to invest in real estate in 2017. While most cities in the United States are expected to experience little growth in terms of home values over the next year (3-4 percent would be surprising), there are a few spots where the numbers promise strong buys and even better rental fees.


Sacramento, California


At one point, it seemed like the Bay Area was tapped out — or at least, it seemed like the average person was priced out of any decent home in the area. That may still be true, but people with deep pockets are keeping the demand alive, and with an average growth rate of 5.1 percent predicted for 2017, housing values are living proof that there’s continued investment potential in places like Sacramento. People still want to be near San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and they’re willing to pay big bucks to buy or rent their way into ultra-lux neighborhoods.


Portland, Oregon


Portland has a lot going for it — lots of restaurants, a wealth of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, proximity to wine country — and now it can add a predicted median home value growth rate of 5 percent to that list. Some areas, such as Summer, Woodlawn, and Parkrose, are expected to meet or exceed 7 percent. Properties are already a little pricey (the average price in Woodlawn is $411,700), but with median rents also expected to rise, there’s still plenty of potential for long-term profit.


Denver, Colorado


What do you get when you combine a low unemployment rate of 3.1 percent with a housing market with a projected growth rate of 5 percent? You get the Denver metropolitan area. Adams County is a prime spot for single-family rentals, but buy soon — prices should continue to rise, and the best deals won’t linger for long.


Seattle, Washington


Seattle, in general, looks like a good buy in 2017, but with a predicted growth rate of 9.2 percent, Northwest Bellevue is leading the charge. Much like Portland, the greater Seattle metropolitan area is already expensive, with the average home value in Bellevue sitting at $744,800, but the growth rate can’t be beat (at least not anywhere locally).


Dallas, Texas


The one city on the list that could complete with Bellevue is the mega-sprawl that is the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. Zillow is predicting a staggering 7.7 percent growth rate for home values in Dallas over the next year. That’s an exciting figure in any market, but Dallas also has affordable homes (the median price is just under $370,000) and solid monthly rental rates (about $1,595 on average).

Richmond, Virginia


Richmond is a bit of an outlier on this list for a couple of reasons. One, it’s the only city from the eastern part of the United States to garner a mention. Two, it has a comparatively measly projected growth rate of 2.2 percent. Why bother, then? Experts estimate that future job growth in Richmond will jump 38.45 percent over the next decade. The local unemployment rate is already lower than the national average, and higher income means more money to spend on rent.