Looking to buy your first home? Few adult rites of passage are as intimidating -- especially in the tumultuous real estate market of the past few years.
But as homebuying season gets underway, some places are better than others for first-timers: areas with lower prices, of course, but also areas with solid employment opportunities and a good supply of homes that don't sell lightning-fast.
Realtor.com just released rankings of the best metros for first-time homebuyers. (Click here or on the photo above to see them.) First it identified its 35 most popular markets -- ones that prospective homebuyers search most often for -- and then it ranked those markets by median list price. Realtor.com took into account how many homes were for sale, including how the inventory had changed from last year, and how long homes spent on the market; markets with short supply and/or high demand can spark bidding wars that price out first-timers, whereas markets with a steady supply of homes, especially homes that have gone unsold for a while, can offer opportunities for deals.
Finally, Realtor.com rejected from its list any housing markets where unemployment rates were worse than the national average.
The resulting lists includes metros across the country. Realtor.com seems to see particular opportunity for first-time buyers in areas that took a beating during the housing crisis. In reverse order, No. 10 to No. 1, the metros are Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.; Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.; Dallas, Texas; Philadelphia (the Pennsylvania portion of the metro area); Jacksonville, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas; Philadelphia (the New Jersey portion of its greater metro area); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Click here or on the photo above to see the best markets for first-time homebuyers, including real-life examples of what the median price will buy you in each market and factors that make the markets so good for first-time buyers.
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