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Best cities for first-time home buyers

  • Best cities for first-time homebuyers

    2018 saw 2.07 million first-time homebuyers, making it the best year for the first-time homebuyer market since 2006. The housing market took a big hit after the 2008 recession and continued to suffer as the primarily affected generation couldn’t afford to spend as much. Throughout recent years as the economy began to mend, more and more young people have made the important decision to move away from renting and toward buying a house of their very own. But with so much on the line financially, picking the right city for first-time homebuyers is essential.

    Stacker has taken some of the guesswork out of choosing the best city for first-time home owners to consider. We sourced data from WalletHub that analyzed a sample of 300 cities across the United States, examining affordability, real estate market, and quality of life. These three dimensions were evaluated using 27 different metrics. 

    To study affordability, everything from average cost of homeowners insurance to cost of living and price per square foot was measured for each city. Exploring the real estate meant considering the rent-to-price-ratio, housing-market health index, the share of homes sold in one year, median home-price appreciation, and foreclosure rate, as well as the share of mortgage holders with negative equity, the homeownership rate for millennials, and more.

    For quality of life, researchers delved into the quality of the school system, weather, driver-friendliness, job market, and crime. Stacker investigated further reasons a city may be attractive for first-time homebuyers, such as additional perks for homebuyers, and other relevant facts and figures about each city from other sources.

    Read on to find out which cities in America are the best choices for buying your very first home. 

    You may also like: Worst cities for first-time home buyers

  • #50. Plano, TX

    - Total score: 60.55
    - Affordability rank: #165
    - Real estate market rank: #31
    - Quality of life rank: #67

    Plano offers residents a higher median income and higher property value than the rest of Texas. The city does, however, have a higher unemployment rate than the rest of the state, which lowers the quality of life rank.

  • #49. Boca Raton, FL

    - Total score: 60.68
    - Affordability rank: #175
    - Real estate market rank: #40
    - Quality of life rank: #22

    One thing keeping Boca Raton, located in Palm Beach County, from a more favorable position is its high cost of living. In 2019, Kiplinger reported that Boca Raton was an "above-average tax burden" city; they estimated that a family with a $250,000 home would pay an annual property tax bill of $2,660. 

  • #48. Denver, CO

    - Total score: 60.69
    - Affordability rank: #220
    - Real estate market rank: #18
    - Quality of life rank: #21

    The proximity of Denver to nature-oriented places centered on rock climbing, camping, and snow activities makes Denver a solid choice for active young people. In 2019, Niche named it #11 on a list ranking the best cities for young professionals in America. 

  • #47. Sunrise, FL

    - Total score: 60.83
    - Affordability rank: #143
    - Real estate market rank: #8
    - Quality of life rank: #146

    Located near Miami in Florida, Sunrise is a metropolitan area with a 3.3% unemployment rate, lower than the country's average of 3.9%, according to Sperling's Best Places. While the housing prices are low for the area, Sunrise is high risk for natural disasters such as hurricanes.

  • #46. Las Vegas, NV

    - Total score: 61.08
    - Affordability rank: #61
    - Real estate market rank: #45
    - Quality of life rank: #154

    Though Las Vegas has a reputation for gambling, clubbing, and late nights, beyond the strip you’ll find many residential communities, world-renowned restaurants, and preserved nature areas. WalletHub ranked North Las Vegas #43 and Las Vegas #9 on a list of the most pet-friendly cities in America

     

  • #45. Hampton, VA

    - Total score: 61.23
    - Affordability rank: #12
    - Real estate market rank: #229
    - Quality of life rank: #74

    Home to the Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton has a good school system that has produced a higher-than-state-average number of high school graduates and undergraduate enrollment. While the city itself is considered affordable, the median house value is significantly less than the state’s average.

  • #44. Columbus, OH

    - Total score: 61.24
    - Affordability rank: #24
    - Real estate market rank: #118
    - Quality of life rank: #100

    When ordering cities with the most green space per capita, Columbus comes in at #11; the Sustainable Columbus Advisory Committee aims to have a green space within a 10-minute walk of every resident. The city’s cost of living is lower than similar metro areas of the same size (Columbus has a population of just over 2 million people) and the average home price is less than the U.S. average.

  • #43. Vancouver, WA

    - Total score: 61.33
    - Affordability rank: #150
    - Real estate market rank: #25
    - Quality of life rank: #47

    Vancouver has seen a significant population increase since the 1990s, leading to higher cost of living while the real estate market remains strong. Trulia reports an increase of 5% in median home sales in Vancouver over the last year. 

  • #42. Oklahoma City, OK

    - Total score: 61.37
    - Affordability rank: #68
    - Real estate market rank: #51
    - Quality of life rank: #135

    Oklahoma City's population has been rising since the 1970s; a renovation project in the 1990s boosted the the downtown area. With highly rated public schools and a suburban feel, Niche also ranks Oklahoma City the #17 best city to buy a house in the U.S.

  • #41. Green Bay, WI

    - Total score: 61.42
    - Affordability rank: #17
    - Real estate market rank: #269
    - Quality of life rank: #18

    Home of the Green Bay Packers, this city is alluring for sports fans. Green Bay comes in at #28 on Stacker's list ranking U.S. cities where people work the least for the most money

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