As more modest-sized metro areas go, the findings are pleasing if not top notch.

Greater Charleston lands in the upper quarter of 2018's "best real-estate markets" and ranks 33rd among 100 smaller cities, according to a fall survey from WalletHub personal-finance website.

The company scrutinized 300 metros, examining 22 key factors of "housing-market attractiveness and economic strength" such as median home-price appreciation, home sales turnover rate and job growth.

WalletHub says home values ballooned on average more than $16,000 in first quarter 2018 while affordability stumbled as mortgage rates surged.

Frisco, Texas, was crowned the best market in the U.S. as well as among small metro areas, and Detroit finished at the bottom overall. Seattle outdid larger cities, and McKinney, Texas topped medium-sized metros. Charleston checked in at 74th overall, just behind another smaller city, Santa Monica, California.

"Whether you’re joining the real-estate business or just looking for a place to call home, it’s important to get a handle on the housing markets you're considering before investing in a property," WalletHub notes in its market analysis.

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Falling unemployment has contributed to a booming real estate market as a whole, the online site points out. Yet fewer homes are being built and purchased because of climbing home-loan interest rates. Moreover, "home prices and rental rates vary widely across the U.S. based on supply and demand."

WalletHub compared cities by individual real estate indicators, such as:

  • Vacancy rates. Allen, Texas, emerged with the lowest share of empty properties at 1.4 percent; Miami Beach, Florida, posted the highest at 36.7 percent.
  • Negative equity, in which householders owe more than their homes' values. Berkeley, California, logged the lowest rate of properties "underwater" at 1.2 percent compared with Detroit amassing the highest share at 38.4 percent.
  • Average days to sell a house. Sunnyvale, California, and Seattle tied for the low at 35, compared with 170 days for the steepest, Miami Beach.
  • Home price as a share of income. Akron, Ohio, scored the lowest at 172 percent, while Berkeley was highest at 1,525 percent.