Get the latest personal finance news sent straight to your inbox.
We’ll send you top stories and timely tips every Tuesday and Thursday.
Veterans United ranked America's top 50 cities for veterans to live in 2020 based on a variety of factors, including local veteran populations and incomes, housing costs, and the numbers of VA health and benefit centers.
See what the stats say about Milwaukee so you can draw conclusions about whether it would be a comfortable place to make your home — with help from a no-money-down VA loan and one of today's historically low mortgage rates.
Is Milwaukee affordable for veterans?
Veterans in Milwaukee earn a median income of $30,769 a year, according to the most current census data, compared to the national median household income of $61,372.
Would your money go far in Milwaukee? The cost of living here is lower than the national average.
The local median income for veterans has gone up 2.05% versus five years earlier.
Some members of the local veteran community are struggling. An estimated 85 veterans here are homeless, and 13.40% of vets in Milwaukee are living below the poverty line.
But other veterans are thriving in this city. Census figures show that 2,999 businesses in town are owned by veterans — so if you're thinking of going into business for yourself, you'll be able to find mentors and networking opportunities.
Can a veteran afford a home in Milwaukee?
You pledged to defend the American dream — and now that you're out of the service, you want to get your share.
By one widely quoted statistic, around 80% of veterans own their own homes, compared to 64% of U.S. households overall.
Could you buy a home in Milwaukee? The median home price here last year was $115,500 , compared to 2019's typical U.S. price of $241,300, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Remember, you've got an advantage over civilian homebuyers in this market: You can use a VA home loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Afffairs.
Most eligible borrowers can buy a home at any price and pay no money down. There's no worrying about whether you can pull together enough cash for the up to 20% down payment that lenders require from other borrowers.
VA loans also don't require you to pay mortgage insurance, and they generally come with lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. That's because the private lenders who offer these loans have confidence in the VA's guaranty to repay a portion of your loan if you default.
Note that VA loan borrowers are required to pay a funding fee: a one-time charge equal to a percentage of the loan amount, to help cover the costs of the program.
What about local services for veterans?
If you move here, you'll be among 24,067 veterans who live in Milwaukee, according to census data, so you'll be able to make friends with experiences similar to yours.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been working to improve access to health care and benefits for veterans throughout the U.S.
In this community, there are 4 VA health centers and there's 1 VA benefit center for military veterans who need services.
By this point, you may be feeling overloaded with information — all helpful, we hope. So, what are you thinking? Would Milwaukee be a good place for you to buy a home with a VA loan and put down roots?
Here's one more thing to help you make up your mind. See if Milwaukee made Veterans United's list of the 50 top cities for veterans to live, ranked in order:
|1. San Antonio|
|2. Lincoln, Nebraksa|
|3. Arlington, Texas|
|4. Raleigh, North Carolina|
|5. Oklahoma City|
|6. Colorado Springs, Colorado|
|7. Boise, Idaho|
|8. Jacksonville, Florida|
|9. Forth Worth, Texas|
|10. Columbus, Ohio|
|11. Louisville, Kentucky|
|12. Corpus Christi, Texas|
|13. Fort Wayne, Indiana|
|14. El Paso, Texas|
|15. Kansas City, Missouri|
|16. Chesapeake, Virginia|
|17. Irving, Texas|
|18. Lexington, Kentucky|
|19. Lubbock, Texas|
|20. Charlotte, North Carolina|
|21. Tampa, Florida|
|2. Wichita, Kansas|
|23. Omaha, Nebraska|
|24. Tulsa, Oklahoma|
|25. Durham, North Carolina|
|26. Greensboro, North Carolina|
|27. Virginia Beach, Virginia|
|28. Plano, Texas|
|29. Anchorage, Alaska|
|30. Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|31. Austin, Texas|
|32. Nashville, Tennessee|
|33. Aurora, Colorado|
|34. Gilbert, Arizona|
|35. St. Petersburg, Florida|
|36. Toledo, Ohio|
|37. Garland, Texas|
|39. Glendale, Arizona|
|40. Mesa, Arizona|
|41. Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|42. Madison, Wisconsin|
|43. Chandler, Arizona|
|44. Irvine, California|
|45. Reno, Nevada|
|46. Winston-Salem, North Carolina|
|47. Laredo, Texas|
|48. Norfolk, Virginia|
|50. Orlando, Florida|