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Top 20 Cities for First-Time Homebuyers

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Affordability

Top 20 Cities for First-Time Homebuyers


October 9, 2020
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Photo: SeanPavonePhoto

The drops in mortgage rates and increases in Americans saving have created a perfect recipe for first-time homebuyers to enter the market, or begin considering it. SmartAsset reviewed 185 of the largest US metros across 12 metrics to identify the best cities for first-time buyers. These cities were judged by four main categories: home market favorability, affordability, livability, and employment. The top 10 cities span the country, but none can be found in the Northeast region. In fact, none in this region make the list until number 43. SmartAsset’s top choice best city for first-time buyers was Grand Rapids, Mich.

1. Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids, Michigan ranks in the top fifth of cities for three of the four categories we considered: home market favorability, affordability and employment. It ranks particularly well for home market favorability, with the 42nd-best price-to-rent ratio (13.96) and 49th-highest five-year home value appreciation (53.52%). Additionally, the state of Michigan has the 15th-lowest foreclosure rate, at 0.25 per 10,000 homes. In the categories of affordability and employment, Grand Rapids ranks within the best 50 out of all 185 cities for four metrics: high under-45 homeownership rate (40.73%), low down payment-to-income ratio (0.60), low housing costs as a percentage of income (20.31%) and low July 2020 unemployment rate (8.7%).

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