Cities Journal

These Are The Best U.S. Cities For First-Time Home Buyers


Owning your own home is a huge part of the American Dream. The ability to call a place your home has always been an important aspect of the American way of life. Throughout the years, purchasing one’s first home has been more or less affordable but according to experts, we live in an age where fewer and fewer people decide to make this significant step.

There are a number of reasons as to why first-time home buyers are feeling somewhat apprehensive to make the investment. A survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors revealed a number of interesting insights on the topic. For instance, student debt is considered one of the main obstacles for buying one’s first property.  Some people are even blaming new mechanisms for green improvement financing, which is total nonsense, of course.

The fact remains that fewer people are purchasing their first homes nowadays than in the recent past, so the people from WalletHub wanted to examine which American cities are doing their fair share to accommodate first-time home buyers and which don’t really care about their residents.

Like always, they did a thorough research, examining 300 cities across the country according to a number of factors. They used 19 factors, divided into three main categories which provided them with three separate rankings – the Affordability Ranking, the Real-Estate Market Ranking and the Quality of Life Ranking.

In order to obtain the necessary data, they turned to the Council for Community and Economic Research, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Renwood RealtyTrac, the Insurance Information Institute, Zillow and even the FBI. For the Quality of Life Rankings, they used their own rankings such as theWeather Ranking and the Jobs Availability Ranking.

They combined these three major rankings and gave each of the 300 cities the Total Score, which they then used to rank the cities from the best to the worst for first-time home buyers.

The best American city for first-time home buyers is a place called Overland Park in Kansas. This city earned the Total Score of 68.49, ranking 58th in Affordability, 29th in Real Estate Market and 11th in Quality of Life. The Kansas midsized city didn’t rank first in any of the categories, but it did enough things well enough to top the WalletHub list.


Greeley, Colorado, made it to second place on the list despite the fact it is not the most affordable place in the country. Its Real Estate Market Rank (9th) and its Quality of life Rank (5th), however, were good enough to offset the fact that it is an expensive place to live. Another Colorado city made it to third spot – Thornton. It ranked third in Quality of Life and 22nd in Real Estate Market. Once again, these rankings were able to offset its Affordability Rank (125th).

Cities that also made it to the Top 10 include Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Westminster, Colorado; Longmont, Colorado; Boise, Idaho; Lincoln, Nebraska; Centennial, Colorado, and Lexington, Kentucky.

The research unearthed more than a few extremely interesting things. For example, a huge number of cities that were in the bottom part of the list were Californian cities. Simply put, the high cost of living and the property prices made it impossible for the majority of Cali cities to break into the top half of the list.

Most bigger cities also ranked poorly, usually due to high property costs, but also thanks to the fact that the quality of life is not exactly stellar in most of them.

The research also showed a huge difference between the cities that ranked the highest or the lowest in different categories. For example, cities likeFremont, San Francisco and San Jose in California had a cost of living that was three times higher than that in Laredo, Texas, or Flint, Michigan. Property prices were even more apart, with property in California costing 12 times higher than in Michigan or Ohio, for example.

This research has shone a light on some of the most important factors influencing first-time home buyers across the country. It is an extremely thought-provoking research, so you should definitely check it out.

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