I've only got homes in Markarth, Whiterun and Riften so far: Whiterun looks the nicest, Riften is the most efficient, and Markarth seems like it should be the best of the three in terms of functionality but it's too dark, the city is awful, and the layout is too funky for me. ~__~ --- "...Blame this on the misfortune of your birth." -Char Aznable
You can also only buy the houses after becoming Thane. And Markarth's is bugged unless you use the console.
I hear the Solitude house is by far the best followed by the Windhelm one but those are the two I've yet to see myself. --- The clouds pass... the rain does its work and all individual beings flow into their forms." The Book of Changes
My first playthrough I went to Whiterun, then to Windhelm, then to Riften, then I wanted to see Solitude so I took a carriage.
Then I went to Morthal expecting this neat city built on scaffolds to keep out the swamp and I cried at the pissant little village.
I expected Falkreath to be this awesome town built into a forest with Log cabin's and wood carvings and cried at the pissant little village.
I then went to Dawnstar expecting this huge seaport and wharf and yeah...
Winterhold is a pissant little village and is in fact the most pissant and little of them, but at least it has the awesome looking mages college and a reason for being so sucky. --- The clouds pass... the rain does its work and all individual beings flow into their forms." The Book of Changes