Having a baby?  Congratulations!  Buying a home may be the most expensive purchase you make, but raising a child is expensive too, and can cost more than the home depending on school and health.  A new study by redfin looks at the top ten affordable cities to have and raise a child.  Just to add perspective, Redfin gives not only the cost of baby’s first year in that metro area, but the second number following each is the difference between a typical 2 bedroom home and the upgrade to a 3 bedroom home, often purchased when couples start a family.

Why the study?  Redfin has noticed a recent migration from more expensive metro areas like Washington, D.C., Sand Francisco and Los Angeles to more affordable places.  The study revealed two of the ten most popular destinations are Austin and Atlanta, which are also on the most affordable places to raise a child.  Redfin is convinced there is a link, or at least room to study.

What was considered in the study?  The costs of baby’s first year include health care, supplies and childcare.  Also included in the ranking was the cost to upgrade from a two bedroom home to a three bedroom home, normal for an expanding family.  Fairweather of Redfin says when you have children, you want to put down roots and settle down.  It is easier to consider your housing options before you have the first child than after.  Also, kids can cause loss of security deposits.  Kids can’t help it; they are curious, active and above all, messy.  In your own home, you can child proof it  to an extent, and paint and more.

In their own market area, first time parents may not be able to afford the bigger, family friendly home.  Moving to a more affordable market can be a way to get the bigger home before you are settled into the community.  Most important, plan any real estate move carefully.  Will you recoup buying costs, moving as well as mortgage loan and title closing costs?  How will it affect your job, career and earnings potential?  Make a list of the pros and cons and see how the homebuying decision balances for your family.