By Matt Allen
Vice President, Portfolio Lending (NMLS #415037)

Top 10 Markets for First-Time Home Buyers

Apr 03, 2024

  • First-Time Home Buyer
  • Mortgages
  • Helpful Tips
  • Home Loans

Similar to 2022, 2023 was a very challenging year for first-time home buyers. According to Bankrate, first-time home buyers comprised 32% of all home buyers, down from the 38% average and the fourth-lowest share in over 40 years. High home prices, rising mortgage rates, and low inventory have made finding and purchasing a new home difficult. But in some markets in the U.S., finding your dream home is easier than in others. The 2024 National Housing Forecast selected ten attractive markets for first-time home buyers. Their criteria included the following:

  • The number of 25-34-year-olds in the population.
  • The inventory of homes for sale.
  • The affordability of the homes is based on active listings per 1000 existing households.
  • The forecasted unemployment rate of the surrounding metro area estimates the number of available jobs.
  • The average work commute time.
  • The area’s amenities are estimated by the number of food and drink establishments per 1000 households.
  • Estimated metro home sales and home price growth for 2024.

Based on these criteria, selected the following as the Top 10 Markets for First-Time Home Buyers for 2024:

  1. Irondequoit, NY
  2. Benton, AR
  3. Winterset, IA
  4. Newington, CT
  5. Council Bluffs, IA
  6. Cheektowaga, NY
  7. Grand Rapids, MI
  8. Moore, OK
  9. Mattydale, NY
  10. Riviera Beach, MD

Some highlights of the forecast:

  • The top markets have an average estimated 2024 25 to 34-year-old homeowner share of households of 8.1%, compared to 5.4% for the overall list of cities and towns and 5.4% nationally. 
  • In 2023, the average number of active listings for the top markets as a group per 1,000 existing households was 40.2, slightly lower than the list average of 40.5 but higher than the national rate of 38.6.
  • The 2023 listing price for the top markets as a group has a 25- to 34-year-old income ratio of 3.1, lower than the city/town average of 5.8 and the national rate of 5.4. Magna, UT, has the lowest unemployment rate, with 2.4%.
  • The top markets are located within metro areas, with an average forecasted 2024 unemployment rate of 3.6%, lower than the town/city average of 4.2% and the projected national rate of 4.2%. Somersworth, NH, has the best amenities and the highest number of food and drink establishments per household.
  • The top cities' average expected 2024 commute time is 24 minutes, less than the city/town average of 30 minutes and the national rate of 29 minutes.

If you are a first-time home buyer, here are some resources to help you. You can also call one of the experts at NASB at 855-739-8713.