First-time homebuyers now represent 45% of all buyers. That’s up from just 37% last year, and the share is about what it was before the pandemic began affecting the market. And market experts have just determined that the Midwest has the best first-time homebuying conditions. That’s according to Zillow, whose analysts just published the company’s list of the top-10 cities for new homebuyers.
Zillow ranked U.S. metros based on factors that included mortgage and rent affordability for first-time home buyers, available homes for sale and the share of listings with a price cut.
Wichita, Kansas topped the list.
Housing experts say circumstances there and in the other nine cities on the list—Toledo, Ohio; Syracuse, New York; Akron, Ohio; Cleveland; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Detroit; Pittsburg; St. Louis; and Little Rock, Arkansas—are not only good for potential homeowners, but also for those who are leasing a house or apartment or saving for a home.
"Although housing affordability is extremely challenging these days, some markets will be more hospitable than others for first-time home buyers," said Zillow Senior Economist Orphe Divounguy. "These metros are potential hotbeds for those looking to buy their first home. Not only will shoppers find more affordable monthly mortgage costs and have an easier time qualifying for a smaller loan, but rent also is more affordable than elsewhere in the country, shortening the time it takes to save for a down payment."
The largest metro in Kansas earned the top spot largely because of its relative affordability, according to Zillow.
“It's among the top metros where people spend the smallest share of their income on rent and mortgage costs. And it has a higher share of for-sale listings relative to active shoppers, which means more options and bargaining power for potential home buyers,” Zillow notes in the report. “Wichita home shoppers can also find a number of deals popping up, with 22% of listings seeing a price cut in October.”
Detroit is the largest metro in the top 10, ranking as the nation's 12th largest. St. Louis (18th) and Pittsburgh (22nd) are also on the list and among the nation's 30 largest metros.
"Affordability remains the number one challenge for first-time home buyers," said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow's Home Trends Expert. "If they can overcome that significant hurdle, aspiring buyers have a better chance of landing a home than they've had in several years. They have more options, more time to decide and more negotiating power, meaning they may be able to land their dream home at a discount."
The full report is available on Zillow.com.