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Top Cities for First-time Homebuyers

Where should first-time homebuyers look for their first home? Wallethub took a sample of 300 U.S. cities of various sizes—fewer than 150,000 people (small), 150,000 to 300,000 people (midsize), and more than 300,000 (large)—and compared them across 27 key indicators of “market attractiveness, affordability, and quality of life,” in order to address this question.

Such factors included items like cost of living, rent-to-price-ratio, median home-price appreciation, housing-market health index, job market, and violent-crime rate, among others. Once ranked, the cities were given a weighted average across all metrics to calculate the overall score, with the goal of 100 representing “the most favorable conditions for first-time homebuyers,” according to the report.

In the overall ranking, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, took the top spot, with an ‘affordability’ ranking of 55, a ‘real-estate market’ rank of 26, and a ‘quality-of-life’ rank of 11, resulting in an overall score of 67.09 (out of a possible 100). In second place, proving that things may just be sweeter in the south, Tampa, Florida, ranked at an overall 65.79, in 139th place for affordability, 4th place for real-estate market, and 15th place for quality of life. City number three shifts the focus west (if only just) to Centennial, Colorado, where an overall score of 64.74 is earned through being 114th in affordability, 51st in real-estate market, and 7th in quality of life.

The remaining top 10 spots were filled as follows:

4) Boise, Idaho: 64.69 overall score, 19th in affordability, 169th in real-estate market, 43rd in quality of life
5) Grand Rapids, Michigan: 64.65 overall score, 17th in affordability, 18th in real-estate market, 142nd in quality of life
6) Thornton Colorado: 64.49 overall score, 122nd in affordability, 40th in real-estate market, 3rd in quality of life
7) Frisco, Texas: 64.26 overall score, 152nd in affordability, 2nd in real-estate market, 44th in quality of life
8) McKinney, Texas: 64.26 overall score, 165th in affordability, 1st in real-estate market, 42nd in quality of life
9) Cary, North Carolina: 64.03 overall score, 16th in affordability, 107th in real-estate market, 23rd in quality of life
10) Gilbert, Arizona: 63.98 overall score, 4th in affordability, 12th in real-estate market, 169th in quality of life

Click here to read the full report.

About Author: Kristina Brewer

Kristina Brewer is the Editorial Assistant of Publications for the Five Star Institute, including DS News and MReport magazine. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas (UNT), where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in rhetoric and writing and a minor in global marketing. During this time, she served as Director of Philanthropy in the national women’s fraternity Zeta Tau Alpha, of which she is an alumna. Her passion for philanthropy continued after university when she was an intern at Keep Denton Beautiful, a local partner of Keep America Beautiful, where she drove membership, organized events, and led social media campaigns. Brewer honed her writing at the North Texas Daily, UNT’s student-run newspaper where she wrote about faculty, mentorship, and student life. Brewer also previously worked at Optimus Business Plans where she helped start-ups create funding proposals, risk assessments, and management plans.
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