Between skyrocketing home values and widespread housing supply shortages, buying a home in today’s competitive sellers’ market is a challenge. It’s even harder for first-time home buyers who haven’t yet built up equity to use as a down payment.
But some housing markets offer more choice and better affordability for first-time buyers, according to a new report from real estate firm Realtor.com.
Realtor.com analyzed more than a thousand small towns in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States to determine which markets offer the most benefits to first-time home buyers. Areas have been ranked based on a number of factors important to first-time buyers, including affordability, job opportunities and local amenities.
“Buying a first home is always a difficult business, and the two years have been particularly difficult for first-time buyers, many of whom struggle to find a home within their budget or win in a call situation. offers,” Realtor said. com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “With that in mind, and the fact that remote work has given people more flexibility in where they live, we wanted to identify markets where newcomers have the opportunity to become homeowners and find a great quality of life. .”
Keep reading to learn more about the best real estate deals for first-time home buyers. If you’re buying your first home, visit Credible to compare rates from multiple mortgage lenders at once.
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First-time home buyers seek good jobs and short commutes
Someone’s first home isn’t always their dream home, but that doesn’t mean first-time home buyers want to sacrifice quality of life. Realtor.com’s First-Time Home Buyers Analysis used the following criteria to help buyers find real estate deals with all the amenities they want:
- A higher proportion of younger residents. Among the areas highlighted in the study, people aged 25 to 34 represent an average of 15.2% of the population. The share of young adults in the whole country is 13.5%
- Choice of more affordable homes. Major markets have an average of 72.9 active listings per 1,000 households, which is well above the national average of 44.9. Home affordability was also considered, measured by comparing the average listing price to the area’s median gross income.
- Promising job growth. The study filtered out small towns and cities with an unemployment rate above the national average.
- Proximity to major cities. The areas on this list have an average expected travel time of 26 minutes to the nearest metropolitan areas, which is shorter than the US average of 30 minutes.
- Lots of restaurants and bars. The average number of catering establishments per 1,000 households is 5.3, which is equal to the national rate.
Additionally, the best small towns for first-time home buyers have healthy local real estate markets. Most of the markets highlighted in the study have an expected home sales price growth rate above the national average.
Prospective buyers should also consider mortgage costs when considering home affordability. Mortgage rates are expected to rise this year as the Federal Reserve plans multiple benchmark rate hikes. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) forecasts that the average 30-year mortgage rate will rise to 4.0% in 2022 from 3.1% in 2021.
One way to combat rising mortgage interest rates is to compare multiple lenders. This ensures that you get the lowest possible rate on a home loan for your financial situation. You can compare mortgage rates for free without affecting your credit score on Credible.
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Tips for buying a first home in 2022
Buying your first home is an important financial milestone, but it can seem like a daunting task. That’s why it’s important to do your research so you can make an informed home buying decision. Here are some tips for buying a first home:
- Move to a neighborhood you like. To make buying a home worthwhile, you should plan to live in your home for several years before moving to a second home. Consider factors that are important to your quality of life, such as short commute times or a variety of local amenities.
- Be flexible. Your first home may not have everything you need, so decide what’s most important to you. For example, you can sacrifice a second bathroom to find a home in your price range. Having flexibility with your closing date can also help differentiate your bid from others in a bidding war.
- Come prepared with financing. In order to show real estate agents that you are serious about buying a home, you will need a mortgage pre-approval letter. It can also help you figure out which homes are in your price range, as well as lock in a mortgage rate.
You can start the mortgage pre-approval process and view your estimated mortgage rate on Credible. This way you can start shopping for your new home.
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