12. Greensboro, N.C. | Weighted Average Score: 63 | Job opportunity: 18 | Home affordability: 90 | Livability: 53 | Housing market forecast: 53 (Photo: Shutterstock)
11. Madison, Wisconsin | Weighted Average Score: 64 | Job opportunity: 92 | Home affordability: 41 | Livability: 83 | Housing market forecast: 83 (Photo: Shutterstock)
10. Cincinnati, Ohio | Weighted Average Score: 64 | Job opportunity: 52 | Home affordability: 78 | Livability: 48 | Housing market forecast: 48 (Photo: Shutterstock)
9. Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pennsylvania | Weighted Average Score: 65 | Job opportunity: 67 | Home affordability: 77 | Livability: 75 | Housing market forecast: 75 (Photo: Shutterstock)
8. Columbus, Ohio | Weighted Average Score: 66 | Job opportunity: 63 | Home affordability: 67 | Livability: 56 | Housing market forecast: 56 (Photo: Shutterstock)

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7. Akron, Ohio | Weighted Average Score: 67 | Job opportunity: 42 | Home affordability: 91 | Livability: 67 | Housing market forecast: 67 (Photo: Shutterstock)
6. Syracuse, New York | Weighted Average Score: 67 | Job opportunity: 55 | Home affordability: 96 | Livability: 80 | Housing market forecast: 80 (Photo: Shutterstock)
5. Grand Rapids, Michigan | Weighted Average Score: 70 | Job opportunity: 42 | Home affordability: 64 | Livability: 79 | Housing market forecast: 79 (Photo: Shutterstock)
4. Dayton, Ohio | Weighted Average Score: 70 | Job opportunity: 50 | Home affordability: 98 | Livability: 59 | Housing market forecast: 59 (Photo: Shutterstock)
3. Omaha, Nebraska | Weighted Average Score: 71 | Job opportunity: 64 | Home affordability: 78 | Livability: 63 | Housing market forecast: 63 (Photo: Shutterstock)

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2. Des Moines, Iowa | Weighted Average Score: 72 | Job opportunity: 88 | Home affordability: 75 | Livability: 79 | Housing market forecast: 79 (Photo: Shutterstock)
1. Rochester, New York | Weighted Average Score: 77 | Job opportunity: 51 | Home affordability: 88 | Livability: 79 | Housing market forecast: 79 (Photo: Doug Benz/Bloomberg News)

(Related: Advisors’ Advice: 10 Financial Mistakes Millennials Make)

Homeownership is becoming a top priority for millennials, with eight in 10 considering owning a home part of the “American Dream,” according to research earlier this year by Clever Real Estate, a free online service that connects buyers with local agents.

Millennial home buyers now account for some 36% of all home buyers in the U.S., the research found.

However, affordability is a major concern of first-time buyers in certain parts of the country, according to Clever. Take Seattle, where the median home price is about $537,800, which would require $107,560 for a 20% down payment — out of reach for many millennials burdened with debt.

Low down-payment mortgages are available, but far from an ideal solution. In another recent study, Clever found that nearly half of millennial homeowners had experienced some form of buyer’s remorse. Their biggest gripe: high monthly mortgage payments. Two out of three had put down less than 20%.

Clever recently introduced what it called the Millennial Metric, developed to identify cities other than the likes of Seattle that young home buyers can afford and will find an enjoyable place to live. It evaluated the 100 most populous cities in the U.S., and ranked them in four categories comprising 12 individual metrics:

  • Job opportunity: income, wage growth and unemployment
  • Home affordability: home values and price-to-income ratios
  • Livability: multiple factors, such as commute times, crime rates and education levels
  • Housing market forecast: how home values will appreciate over the next 12 months

Clever said it gave “livability” and “home affordability” more weight than the other two categories in order to prioritize places that are both appealing and affordable.

Check out the 12 cities Clever ranked as the most affordable and fun to live in.

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