List of top ten livable cites. Great places to rent then buy a home from Forbes.com
"Portland, Ore., makes our list for much the same reason that San Francisco does: It's a picturesque, culture-driven city with good local services and amenities. The city is still not particularly cheap for buyers--but it's cheaper than normal.
A family hoping to put down roots there would normally pay a 62% premium to go from renting to buying. In the third quarter of 2009, however, that premium shrank by 16 percentage points. At the same time, Moody's Economy.com anticipates that home prices will jump 19% over the next five years. That's partly because, like San Francisco, Portland has strict government limitations on building and a coastal location that keep sprawl in check.
"Portland has one of the most controlled environments in the country in terms of development rights," says Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. "Those supply constraints will push prices up."
The presence of jobs--along with strong industries that will keep generating new ones--is a big factor in keeping demand for homes, and therefore home prices, high. The weak national economy has helped reduce the premium to buy for the time being, but where the labor market is relatively healthy, home prices are predicted to shoot up."