When shopping for your first home, it’s easy to fixate on price and neighborhood. But other factors also should go into determining the best place for this milestone purchase — the largest purchase in most people’s lives — including the area’s affordability, livability and price stability.
To determine the best cities for first-time homebuyers, NerdWallet used these criteria and analyzed the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, online data provider NeighborhoodScout and Down Payment Resource for the 448 largest places in the U.S. by population. Down Payment Resource’s data allowed NerdWallet to assess the availability of homeownership assistance programs, which can help cash-short first-time homebuyers.
Indiana and Texas dominate the list with their affordable housing, strong schools and plentiful jobs. No large cities made the top 10 list, which is composed of suburbs or small cities within major metroplexes. These areas stand out because they’re close to the amenities and jobs of a big city, often with a more affordable and quieter lifestyle.
The cities that did make the list revealed there may be a sweet spot for population when it comes to the top places for first-time buyers. Five of the top 10 cities have populations between 83,000 and 89,000.
Top 10 cities for first-time homebuyers
- Carmel, Indiana
- Fishers, Indiana
- Johns Creek, Georgia
- Frisco, Texas
- Newton, Massachusetts
- Allen, Texas
- Gilbert, Arizona
- Centennial, Colorado
- Olathe, Kansas
- Sugar Land, Texas
Emily Starbuck Crone is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @emstarbuck. Dan Tonkovich is a data analyst at NerdWallet. Email: email@example.com.