The 15 Best Cities for DIYers

by Barbara Hadden

Coupon shopping with a coupon michaeljung / Shutterstock.com

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on Porch.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago, living space has taken on new importance for many Americans.

From early lockdowns to lasting remote or hybrid work arrangements, people have been spending more time at home and collectively investing billions in the spaces where they live.

While the pandemic’s economic effects — including high savings rates, low interest rates, and government stimulus — helped supercharge home improvement spending, investment in such home projects was already up in recent years, alongside more than a decade of rising home prices. In 2011, after the Great Recession, inflation-adjusted spending on major residential improvements per household fell to $1,452, but that figure grew steadily to $2,398 by 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

To determine the best locations for DIYers, researchers at Porch calculated the concentration of hardware, furniture, and appliance stores (per 10,000 residents). In the event of a tie, the location with the greater total number of hardware, furniture, and appliance stores was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included. The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau, Zillow, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Here are the best U.S. metropolitan areas for DIYers.

15. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

Runners in Boston Stephen Finn / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.51
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 2,190
  • Median home price: $649,034
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +10.2%

14. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City skyline Natalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.53
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 633
  • Median home price: $210,799
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -6.2%

13. Salt Lake City, UT

Salt Lake City, Utah f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.61
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 560
  • Median home price: $602,765
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -2.3%

12. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

Portland, Oregon photomatz / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.61
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 1,139
  • Median home price: $581,400
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +5.7%

11. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN

Nashville, Tennessee jdross75 / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.63
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 881
  • Median home price: $433,158
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -3.0%

10. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh esb-professional / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.64
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 1,079
  • Median home price: $211,973
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -4.3%

9. Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT

house in Hartford Connecticut Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.68
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 564
  • Median home price: $312,123
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +2.9%

8. Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI

Grand Rapids, Michigan Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.70
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 503
  • Median home price: $303,655
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -5.3%

7. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN

Louisville Kentucky Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.70
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 593
  • Median home price: $236,137
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -8.1%

6. Rochester, NY

homes houses in Rochester New York SGreg3 / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.76
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 510
  • Median home price: $211,155
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -1.7%

5. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

Providence, Rhode Island Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.77
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 774
  • Median home price: $438,168
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +1.2%

4. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

Luciano Mortula LGM / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.86
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 9,357
  • Median home price: $600,354
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +15.5%

3. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

stormy sky in New Orleans, Louisiana GJGK Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 4.92
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 626
  • Median home price: $264,185
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -3.1%

2. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

Birmingham, Alabama Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 5.12
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 557
  • Median home price: $234,645
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -7.4%

1. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL

Miami, Florida homes Blue Rhino Media / Shutterstock.com
  • Concentration of hardware, furniture appliance stores (per 10,000 residents): 5.21
  • Total number of hardware, furniture appliance stores: 3,196
  • Median home price: $430,068
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +10.0%

Methodology

Man analyzing data on a laptop fizkes / Shutterstock.com

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics of U.S. Businesses survey, Zillow’s Home Value Index, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s Regional Price Parities .

To determine the best locations for DIYers, researchers calculated the concentration of hardware, furniture, and appliance stores (per 10,000 residents). In the event of a tie, the location with the greater total number of hardware, furniture, and appliance stores was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included.

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