These 15 cities boast the best 20-year returns on home values

Depending where you live, staying put in your home for the last two decades could be paying off well. As in really well.

In some places, the gain is more than 300% or even 400%. However, that doesn’t take into consideration other housing costs that can eat into profits: property taxes, maintenance or improvements.

As part of a new study on where homeowners would have made the most money over the last 20 years, GoBankingRates analyzed median home values in more than 900 cities around the country.

Many of the places with the highest gains — both in terms of percentage and dollar amount — are in California, although a few East Coast cities fall within the top 15.

In fact, of the 50 cities with the best percentage gains, just one is not along the east or west coast: Gulfport, Mississippi. There, the median home value of $ 213,200 is 256% more — or $ 153,400 — than the $ 59,800 median value in 1999.

At the same time, there are other places where homeowners who have stayed in their houses since 1999 could be sitting on an asset whose value has dropped.

For example, at the bottom of the list is Flint, Michigan, where home values have been sliced by more than 57% — to $ 19,300 currently from $ 45,300 in 1999. Dayton, Ohio, has experienced a 10.8% drop, to $ 53,100 from $ 59,500.

While most areas have recovered from the housing crisis that caused home values to fall by more than 20% from 2007 through 2011, Zillow data shows that 8.2% of homeowners are underwater nationwide — that is, they own more on their mortgage than the home is worth.

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