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The Best Cities for Military Families

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There are a lot of "hot spots" in the housing market, but filtering them for military families can prove challenging. Military families move often, so house hunting after receiving permanent change of station orders can seem daunting. But, I've taken some of the guess work out of finding a good home for you. So here are my picks for the best cities for military families in 2010. It's difficult to predict what will happen in the fluctuating housing market, but after careful market evaluation, these four picks may help those of you on the move.

1.) U.S. Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Camp Pendleton is close to Oceanside and San Clemente, with a base population of about 8,000. Other surrounding cities include San Juan Capistrano and Carlsbad. Of these, I prefer Oceanside. Oceanside is in San Diego County with a population of about 170,000 people. Almost all homes in the area are single family homes.The average listing price in December 2008 was about $476,000. In 2009 it was about $270,000. Yet, the market stabilized in its month-over-month decrease in price, and the high number of foreclosures in the area lets buyers get in for great prices. If you're interested in this area be sure to bid low. You may want two or three potential homes on your list, and narrow it down to the house that offers the best deal.

What's more, jobs are relatively strong in close-by Orange County, which should help sustain the housing market.

2.) U.S. Army base Fort Knox in Radcliff, Ky. About 11,000 people live on Fort Knox, which leads to strong demand for housing. And, the base is nearby Elizabethtown and Vine Grove. The average price for a home is about $136,000 and is steadily increasing — this is 1.2 percent gain in price in the past year — making it a relatively safe investment.

3.) U.S. Air Force base Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, S.D. Close to Box Elder S.D., it has a moderate median household income of about $35,000, and the average home price is about $136,000. This is down from about $268,000 in 2004, and it's increased throughout 2009 providing a glimpse of stability. The crime rate is relatively low and the community boasts close to 70,000 people. It has great dining and shopping for those looking for entertainment and is partly driven by tourism. There is also a vast cultural experience available with community theatres, playhouses, arts centers, and museums. Additionally, you'll find national parks and a high quality of life in Rapid City.

4.) U.S. Army base Fort Drum near Watertown, N.Y. This is an ideal area for military families on the move, with a base population of 13,000 plus. Nearby towns include Evans Mills and Carthage. The current listing price is about $126,000. And, there isn't a large turnover of homes which lends itself well to stability. The city also has its own mission and vision: To create a secure and safe environment and promote the welfare of its citizens; to be a vibrant and attractive growing community. With a population of about 25,700 people, this Northern New York community is about 70 miles north of Syracuse and 30 miles south of Canada. It has a 200-year-old legacy going back to the New England pioneer days. Those who enjoy the outdoors will love the camping, hiking, rafting and boating local lakes provide.

Regardless of where you want to live, be sure to look for job growth (or at least stability in a recession), people moving in and not out, and price stabilization for at least six months.

Dr. Danielle Babb (Dr. Dani) is an enthusiastic professor, speaker, consultant and author helping people achieve their passions and dreams through their work. Coming from very modest roots, she strongly believes in education as the foundation to every goal and dream we have becoming the life we live each day.

Dr. Dani is a faculty member for online and on-ground universities teaching economics, technology, statistics, business, management, and real estate. She is the author of: "Commissions at Risk," "Finding Foreclosures," "Real Estate v2.0," "Make Money Teaching Online" and, coming soon, "The Accidental Landlord."

She teaches courses at all levels in education from associates to doctoral work.Dr. Dani is the go-to expert for many news channels and networks on cable and local television. She analyzes the real estate and economic climates, the impact of politics on the wallets of individuals, and how to earn money from home. She is regularly seen on Fox Business Network, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, CNN Headline News, CBS, NBC and has appeared on the "Today Show."

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