Top 10 Cities Offering the Most Fixer-Uppers for Sale: Cost Analysis

In the realm of real estate, few property types evoke as much anticipation coupled with a hint of apprehension as the infamous fixer-upper.

Acquiring a home in need of repair can appear intimidating to certain individuals, yet for others accustomed to renovations and inspired by HGTV home makeover programs, the idea of transforming a property into a personalized haven ignites excitement.

Amidst a real estate landscape marked by heightened interest rates and continuously escalating home values, the appeal of an affordable fixer-upper may be gaining traction among prospective buyers who perceive it as a financially prudent pathway to owning a home.

Amidst one of the most challenging real estate markets in years, fixer-upper homes, long cherished by home flippers and investors, are increasingly catching the eye of first-time buyers.

Curious to explore where these hidden gems might lie? Our investigation has pinpointed the cities boasting the highest proportion of fixer-upper properties.

Across the nation, approximately one in every 20 listings suggests some degree of need for renovation, repair, or TLC, according to our comprehensive analysis (details provided below). Unveiling a diverse landscape of potential, our findings illuminate regions steeped in history and charm.

However, investing in a fixer-upper entails more than just adorning the space with modern appliances or creating a spa-worthy bathroom for a resale. Some properties may demand substantial time, effort, and investment to restore them to a habitable state. Yet, for those willing to embark on the journey, these homes promise not only enhanced market value but also the fulfillment of a unique vision.

Jon Bostock, CEO of Leaf Home, remarks, “Renovation, once fueled by cosmetic upgrades, now pivots toward maximizing return on investment or averting future maintenance issues. Such shifts in decision-making are increasingly evident.”

A recent study by Leaf Home indicates that over two-thirds of baby boomers reside in homes aged 30 years or more, many of which have never undergone renovation or appliance replacement—a trend suggesting an imminent generational housing transition where younger buyers may find renovation unavoidable.

To identify the prime locations for securing a fixer-upper, our® data team delved into active home listing data for the week of January 9–16. Sifting through over 700,000 listings nationwide, we discerned phrases and terms indicating a fixer-upper property. Despite the arduous work often required, these listings adeptly highlight the potential positives, employing descriptors like “visionary’s dream” and “restore to glory.” Such marketing finesse epitomizes the art of real estate salesmanship.

Our rankings are based on the cities boasting the highest percentage of identified fixer-upper listings. To ensure robust representation, we only considered cities with a population exceeding 40,000 and a minimum of 20 fixer-upper listings. Moreover, to ensure geographic diversity, we limited our selection to one city per state.

Not every home in need of renovation explicitly states its condition in the listing description. However, analyzing keywords can provide insight into where sellers and their listing agents recognize the value of transparency with potential buyers.

By searching for specific terms indicative of renovation needs, such as “fixer-upper,” “handyman special,” or “investment opportunity,” buyers can uncover properties that may require varying degrees of renovation or repair. These keywords serve as signals for buyers looking to undertake renovation projects or seeking properties with potential for improvement.

Top Areas for Fixer-Uppers: Where to Find Properties in Need of Renovation

The Midwest Emerges as Fixer-Upper Hotspot: A Closer Look at Renovation Opportunities Across the U.S.

When it comes to fixer-upper listings, the Midwest takes the lead, boasting 6.4% of homes indicating renovation potential. Following closely behind is the Northeast, with 6.3% of listings suggesting opportunities for improvement. Meanwhile, the South and West regions lag behind, with 4.4% and 4.0% of listings respectively pointing to renovation possibilities. This regional breakdown highlights the varying prevalence of fixer-upper properties across the country, offering valuable insights for prospective buyers and investors looking to embark on renovation projects.

Exploring Fixer-Upper Listings Across Different Regions

Diving into the specifics at the state level, Illinois emerges as a significant hub, with nearly 1 in every 10 listings categorized as fixer-uppers. Following closely behind are Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland, each with approximately 1 in every 12 or 13 listings fitting into this classification.

These observations underscore a broader regional pattern favoring the Midwest and Northeast, where a combination of aging housing inventory and rich architectural legacy presents ample opportunities for renovation projects.

Top 10 Cities Offering Fixer-Uppers for Sale

Diving deeper into the real estate landscape, we uncover a myriad of cities across the United States brimming with opportunities for fixer-upper enthusiasts. From the quaint towns of Connecticut to the picturesque locales of Colorado, these cities share a common thread: proximity to major urban centers. According to Hannah Jones, a senior economic analyst at, many of these areas boast homes listed well below the national average, making them attractive to both prospective homeowners and savvy investors.

“These areas offer the best of both worlds,” Jones explains. “They provide easy access to bustling economic hubs, ensuring ample employment opportunities, while also offering affordable housing options.”

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the top U.S. cities showcasing the highest number of fixer-upper listings for sale and explore the price tags attached to these promising properties.

  1. New Haven, CT
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $262,500*
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 29.7% Renowned for its prestigious Yale University, New Haven boasts not only academic prestige but also a wealth of historical properties ripe for rejuvenation. With nearly a third of its listings falling into the fixer-upper category, the city stands as a leader in the Northeast, offering a unique blend of intellectual vibrancy and housing renewal.
  1. Gary, IN
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $60,000
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 21.4% Once a prominent player in U.S. steel production during the early 1900s, Gary experienced a decline in industry and population in later years. Today, with aging housing stock, over one-fifth of its listings signal the need for some tender loving care. Priced at a median of approximately $60,000, these fixer-uppers offer significant discounts compared to other listings in the city.
  1. Pine Bluff, AR
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $45,000
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 19.1% Despite its status as a smaller city experiencing a population decline, Pine Bluff remains an attractive destination due to its proximity to the state capital, Little Rock. Home to the Arkansas Railroad Museum and the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, the city offers a unique charm. Nearly one-fifth of its listings present opportunities for renovation.
  1. Syracuse, NY
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $60,000
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 18.2% Combining educational prominence with a rich industrial heritage, Syracuse stands as a beacon of opportunity in upstate New York. Like many industrial cities, it grapples with aging housing stock, with over 18% of its listings requiring renovation. These fixer-upper homes are priced at less than half the cost of those without the need for renovations.
  1. Flint, MI
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $26,500
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 16.4% Once a hub of automotive industry, Flint now presents opportunities for urban renewal. Despite facing challenges such as the mismanagement of its water supply, the city offers the most affordable fixer-upper homes, priced at less than 10% of the national median.
  1. Macon, GA
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $65,000
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 15.8% Located approximately 90 minutes southeast of Atlanta, Macon has long been known for its affordable housing market. Offering good deals on fixer-uppers, the city appeals to those seeking affordable housing options near major economic hubs.
  1. Newark, NJ
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $310,000
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 14.9% As New Jersey’s largest city, Newark offers a bustling urban environment with higher fixer-upper prices, catering to those drawn to metropolitan life. It serves as a more affordable alternative to neighboring New York City, with convenient access to Manhattan.
  1. Saint Louis, MO
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $87,950
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 13.7% Known as the Gateway to the West, Saint Louis offers affordable real estate options, particularly for those willing to put in some work. The city presents opportunities for urban renewal amidst its rich cultural heritage.
  1. Philadelphia, PA
  1. Median fixer-upper list price: $159,900
  2. Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 12.3% The historic City of Brotherly Love boasts the highest number of fixer-upper listings, reflecting its sizable population. With nearly 500 properties matching the keyword search, Philadelphia presents ample opportunities for renovation in a city steeped in American history.
  1. Aurora, CO
    • Median fixer-upper list price: $519,000Fixer-upper percentage of listings: 12.3%
    Comprising a significant portion of the Denver metro area’s eastern half, Aurora offers suburban living with easy access to the downtown core and the Rockies. While its fixer-upper homes are among the most expensive on the list, they come with a 5% discount compared to other listings in the city, indicative of the area’s substantial price growth in recent years.

Matthew Graham
Matthew Graham
Articles: 63

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *