With South Carolina's population among the nation's fastest-growing in recent years, one researcher tried to suggest the best communities to buy.
The study, published this week to NerdWallet, found three in the Midlands among the state's top 10 places to purchase a home: Lexington, Irmo and Oak Grove.
The study was based on home availability, affordability and growing population.
Lexington, which ranked No. 4, was found to have a high growth rate (9.1 percent between 2010 and 2012), a high home-ownership rate (62.4 percent) vs. rentals, a low median sales price ($169,200) and relatively cheap home-ownership costs (27.5 percent of monthly income).
Irmo ranked No. 5 with a 1.2 percent growth rate, a home-ownership rate of 79.6 percent, a median sales price of $128,700 and less than 25 percent of income going to home ownership costs.
Oak Grove, also in Lexington County, ranked No. 10. The community grew 2.3 percent, with a home-ownership rate of 70.8 percent, a median sales price of $128,000 and 28.1 percent going to monthly homeownership costs of 28.1 percent.
The state's top places to buy, according to the study, were Five Forks (outside of Greenville), Bluffton in the Lowcountry and Socastee near Myrtle Beach.