MortgageReal Estate

Inventory isn’t a problem in these top cities for first-time buyers

Added perk, they are affordable and enjoyable too

Cities like Seattle and Dallas might be able to boast that they are the hottest markets in the country, but that added fame leaves little leeway for any first-time buyers.

First-time buyers are left with little inventory to choose from, and when they do find something that marginally fits their initial demands, they are left in an outrageous bidding war, significantly inflating their budget.

The good news is that this situation isn’t happening everywhere.

In the words of, here are markets where “committed-but-oh-so-frustrated housing newbies" can turn.

The list from focused on the 25-to-34 age group and filtered the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas using the following criteria:

  • Affordability, measured by home-price-to-income ratio for 25- to 34-year-olds (the lower the better)
  • Inventory, with enough houses available that you don’t have to camp out at open houses or sell your firstborn to get your chance — measured by the number of homes for sale per 1,000 households
  • Mortgage availability, measured by the share of home loans purchased by 25- to 34-year-olds
  • Job growth, measured by lower-than-average unemployment rate (because unemployment and new homes are a lousy combo)
  • Livability, measured by the number of restaurants, schools, retailers, health care facilities, and arts and entertainment venues per 1,000 households

Here are the 10 cities that came out on top:

10. Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Median price: $256,000
  • Unemployment: 5%

9. Minneapolis, Minnesota


  • Median price: $294,000
  • Unemployment: 3.9%

8. Dayton, Ohio

  • Median price: $115,000
  • Unemployment: 5.2%

7. Baton Rouge, Louisiana


  • Median price: $217,000
  • Unemployment: 4.8%

6. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

  • Median price: $168,000
  • Unemployment: 4.2%

5. Albany, New York

State Capital

  • Median price: $238,000
  • Unemployment: 4.5%

4. Allentown, Pennsylvania

  • Median price: $188,000
  • Unemployment: 5%

3. St. Louis, Missouri


  • Median price: $164,000
  • Unemployment: 5.2%

2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Median price: $222,000
  • Unemployment: 4.8%

1. Portland, Maine


  • Median price: $304,000
  • Unemployment: 3.3%

Check out for the full break out on each place. 

Most Popular Articles

Airbnb properties wouldn’t make a dent in housing market

While the real estate market has lots of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, a tsunami of houses being sold by Airbnb hosts who can’t pay their mortgages isn’t one of them. HW+ Premium Content

Jun 02, 2020 By

Latest Articles

Here’s evidence of V-shaped recovery

This week, the “V-shaped” recovery in purchase applications is mimicked by the inverted “V-shaped” recovery of the St. Louis Stress Index. According to HousingWire Columnist Logan Mohtashami, this signals a return to a much more calm financial market.

Jun 05, 2020 By
3d rendering of a row of luxury townhouses along a street

Log In

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Please