If you’re buying a home for the first time, it can be easy to become intimidated. Most of us know that real estate is all about “location, location, location” but knowing where to buy can still be a challenge. If you’re looking to put down roots and buy a house for the first time, consider these cities.
The well-known online lender, LendingTree, recently completed a year-long study that evaluated the housing market for those looking at buying a home for the first time. The study tracked certain key metrics which may impact the availability, accessibility, an attractiveness of specific markets.
Key factors included average down payments, number of buyers using an FHA mortgage, and more. The results of the study reveal the most (and least) accessible markets for first-time home buyers.
Best Housing Markets
- Little Rock, Arkanas
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Youngstown, Ohio
- Winston, North Carolina
- Dayton, Ohio
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Scranton, Pennsylvania
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Cincinnati, Ohio
Worst Housing Markets
- Denver, Colorado
- New York City, New York
- San Francisco, California
- Austin, Texas
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Los Angeles, California
- Oxnard, California
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Sacramento, California
- Miami, Florida
The cities in the top ten for first-time home-buyers tend to be in smaller housing markets and less urban areas. However, some of them offer a mixture of city living with smaller-town costs.
Cincinnati is not a small town by any stretch of the imagination. However it may seem that way if you compare it to Los Angeles. It should come as no surprise that if you’re buying a home for the first time, you should avoid California. California has four cities in the top ten, and it’s not hard to see why. High taxes and skyrocketing home prices are causing a mass exodus of low-income and middle class residents.
Affording a home is difficult in California, but it isn’t all about the location or the price. Shayan Jalali, a Boston-based realtor offered this piece of advice when buying a home for the first time:
“As a first-time home-buyer, it’s critical to maintain a long-term perspective. It’s not just about how cheap or expensive the average homes are in an area. You can find a house at a very reasonable price in some parts of the country, but the area may not provide many opportunities to get ahead.”
Rather, Jalali says, focus on the area and the opportunities that are available, especially where the local economy and job markets are concerned. Of course the cost matters, but there are other factors to consider.
The cost of living is one such factor. Home prices, mortgage rates, and of course the local job market are key deciding factors when it comes to your cost of living. Thankfully, City vs City can help you determine your cost of living no matter what city you’re looking to buy a home in.
City vs City is a powerful cost of living tool. We examine after-tax income, housing expenses, state and local taxes, and more. Using data drawn from the zip-code level, we arrive at an accurate, local determination of the true cost of living in your city.
Then, we compare the cost of your current city with those in another. The result is a side by side cost comparison and an easy way to see which city comes out on top. If you’re buying a home for the first time, download the City vs City app first and see which city you’re considering will get you more bang for your buck.