Residential real estate is one of the world’s most popular investments. In the U.S. alone, the total value of owner-occupied real estate is roughly $32 trillion, nearly as much as the value of the entire U.S. stock market. And you can’t live in your stock portfolio.

In order to help home buyers decide on the best place to make this important investment, The Wall Street Journal collaborated with Realtor.com to rank which housing markets are expected to provide both a strong return on investment—and are a nice place to live.

Why is Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, at the top of the list? Read more about the city here.

While other market-by-market comparisons focus only on housing metrics, the WSJ/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index also looks at nonhousing indicators to help identify places that are not only good places to invest, but also where you are likely to enjoy living. Initially, the index will be updated quarterly.

Methodology

In order to identify the top emerging housing markets, The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com reviewed data for the 300 most populous core-based statistical areas, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. (Note: The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com are both owned by parent company News Corp . )