#7. Louisville KY
Even beyond the bourbon, the Kentucky Derby and their famous baseball bats, Louisville is not a bad place to put your feet up at the end of the day. This city is certifiably Southern when it comes to food, drink and hospitality, but Louisville is also inclusive and friendly to LGBTQ residents and visitors, earning a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index in 2017. In other words, Louisville is more than just your stereotypical Southern city — it’s a cool, thriving and welcoming place to all (which is why they ranked at No. 28 on our Top 100 Best Places to Live list in 2019).
In addition to an inclusive, amenity-filled environment, Louisville is affordable for first-time buyers. Their HOI is 80.5 according to the NAHB, meaning that most of the city’s housing is affordable to average income families, and the median price of homes sold is $176,300. And to encourage low and middle-income families to invest in the city, Louisville also offers an innovative Down Payment Assistance Program, which offers all buyers (not just first-timers) who are at or below 80% of the area median income with down payment assistance up to 20% of the purchase price. As long as you live in the home for five years and financially contribute $500 to the purchase of the property through the appraisal payment, home inspection or earnest money, you can get some financial help to buy your beautiful Southern dream home.