Urban planning lecturer and policy analyst Joan Ling spoke to WalletHub about how to better understand the housing market. The COVID-19 pandemic has had unique effects on the housing market as mortgage rates hit record lows. While it’s difficult to tell how the pandemic will impact the market in the upcoming months, Ling predicted that interest rates will remain low for at least the next year. She attributed low homeownership rates among millennials to the disconnect between wages and prices and the need for a sizable down payment, which create a high barrier for first-time buyers. She also highlighted the top five indicators she looks for in evaluating the healthiest housing markets: affordability, monthly cost equivalency between renting and owning, healthy vacancy rate, housing production, and good public infrastructure and services. Ling’s expert advice guided an analysis of 300 U.S. cities to determine the best local real-estate markets.