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10 Best U.S. Cities to Build Wealth

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Different metro areas can affect households’ abilities to amass wealth in different ways, according to a new report.

The report ranked 21 large metro areas in five categories: savable income, human capital, debt burden, homeownership and access to financial services.

“In some metro areas, like San Francisco, homeownership can be prohibitively expensive, but higher-than-average salaries can help residents stash more money away in tax-advantaged retirement accounts,” said analyst Claes Bell in a statement. “On the other hand, Minneapolis-area residents don’t earn as much, but the area’s affordable housing and recovering real estate market provide opportunities to build wealth over the long term through home equity.”

A number of factors influence how quickly and effectively a household can build its wealth, according to Bankrate, and many hinge on geography. According to Diana Elliott, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, “a home is where most Americans hold their wealth, so it’s incredibly important for wealth-building.”

(Related: 15 Best U.S. Cities for Retirement: 2016 and 10 Worst U.S. Cities to Build Wealth)

However, some of the cities Bankrate studied have homeownership rates south of 60%, often because scarce land and other issues have driven real estate prices so high they’re unaffordable for large swaths of the population.

The report finds that a home isn’t the only way to build wealth, though. For example, San Francisco’s homeownership rate is only 53%, which means nearly half the city’s residents don’t have access to building wealth through home equity. They’re still able to build wealth because their incomes are so much higher, on average, compared with people in other cities that they may have more left over each month to put into savings and investment.

“Some metropolitan areas have seen different rates of growth than others. A lot of that depends on the industries and what’s there to support the workers within that city,” Elliott said in a statement.

Here are the 10 best metro area for building wealth, according to Bankrate’s analysis.

Baltimore Inner Harbor.

10. Baltimore

Savable income: $9,303

Homeownership rate: 66.9%

Debt burden: $27,917

A cyclist in South Mountain Park in Phoenix. (Photo: AP)

9. Phoenix

Savable income: $14,828

Homeownership rate: 63.2%

Debt burden: $27,811

Denver Brocons Fans. (Photo: AP)

8. Denver

Savable income: $13,099

Homeownership rate: 61.1%

Debt burden: $28,007

Boston park. (Photo: AP)

7. Boston

Savable income: $5,115

Homeownership rate: 55.1%

Debt burden: $26,318

A view of Seattle's Space Needle and skyline. (Photo: AP)

6. Seattle 

Savable income: $10,381

Homeownership rate: 55.4%

Debt burden: $27,691

Hart Plaza in Detroit. (Photo: AP)

5. Detroit 

Savable income: $12,513

Homeownership rate: 71%

Debt burden: $23,610

Saint Louis Gateway Arch.

4. St. Louis

Savable income: $10,451

Homeownership rate: 66.2%

Debt burden: $27,486

Washington, D.C. Skyline.

3. Washington, D.C.

Savable income: $15,246

Homeownership rate: 64.2%

Debt burden: $28,914

Minneapolis skyline.

2. Minneapolis

Savable income: $6,557

Homeownership rate: 68.6%

Debt burden: $26,877

Lombard Street in San Francisco.

1. San Francisco

Savable income: $16,657

Homeownership rate: 53%

Debt burden: $25,941

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