Beyond affordability, these 10 markets have many attractive features for first-time buyers – from nearby amenities to job opportunities

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- With affordability continuing to be a big hurdle in 2023, first-time buyers may need to be flexible in order to land a house in the coming year. To find the Best Markets for First-time Homebuyers, Realtor.com® looked at a number of qualities that make a town attractive, including affordability, livability and where it might be easier for young buyers to break into the housing market. The top 10 markets for first-time homebuyers in 2023 are: Portsmouth, Va., DeForest, Wisc., Windsor Locks, Conn., Gloucester City, N.J., Moore, Okla., Magna, Utah, Eggertsville, N.Y., Watervliet, N.Y., Mattydale, N.Y. and Somersworth, N.H.

Realtor.com® Forecasts the 10 Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers in 2023

What makes these towns great for first-time buyers? They have strong job markets, short commute times, plenty of places to eat and drink, a younger population, affordability, and more homes to choose from.

"The housing market will continue to be challenging for first-time buyers in the coming year, but for those with a bit of flexibility in where they live, there are markets where young buyers can find not just a relatively affordable home, but a neighborhood that offers a mix of economic opportunity and lifestyle amenities," said Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "Affordability is always a consideration for first-time buyers, but it's also important to make sure that you're settling down in a location that has all the qualities that make it an enjoyable place to live – after all, you're not just buying a house, you're investing in a community."

This year's best markets have:

  • More homes to choose from: With inventory still near historic lows, having more homes to choose from can make a world of difference. Realtor.com®'s best markets for first-time homebuyers have an average of 47.8 listings per 1,000 households, higher than the national rate of 45.2. Magna, Utah has the widest selection of listings per household on this year's list.
  • Short commutes: Typically, the farther from city centers, the cheaper the homes, but no one wants to spend all day commuting. This year's top towns have an average expected commute time of just 24 minutes. This is significantly faster than the national average of 30 minutes–it would save 50 hours per year for a 5-day commuter. Those looking for an especially short commute should check out Eggertsville, N.Y., which has an average travel time of just 20 minutes.
  • Options for food and drinks: Buying a house doesn't need to mean giving up on a latte or an occasional meal out. The top towns have an average of 5.6 food and drink establishments per 1,000 households in their metro area, higher than the national rate of 5.3. Somersworth, N.H. topped the list for proximity to restaurants.
  • Younger residents: When it comes to picking a new community, younger buyers are often drawn to younger towns. This year's list has an average of 14.8% of residents in the 25-34 year age category, compared to the national average of 13.4%. Magna, Utah (which also made the 2022 list) tied Moore, Okla. as the youngest markets on the list.
  • Affordability: With high home prices and interest rates, affordability is a key factor for first-time homebuyers. The best markets offer an average 2022 listing price to income ratio of 3.5 for 25- 34 year-olds, much lower than the national rate of 5.1. Mattydale, N.Y. and Gloucester City, N.J. tied for the most affordable locations on the list.
  • Strong housing markets: A home is an investment, and this is especially true for first-time buyers who are likely investing a large portion of their savings into a home. To help best protect that investment, it's important to buy in a location that has a strong local housing market and is likely to hold its value, if not appreciate. This year's markets are located within metro areas that have an average forecasted 2023 home sales growth rate of 1.2%, higher than the national rate which is expected to decline -14.1%. In terms of price growth, Somersworth, N.H. is located within the Boston metro area which is expected to have the highest growth in 2023 among the 10 places on our list (+9.5%), followed closely by the Madison metro area containing DeForest, Wisc.(+9.0%).

Realtor.com® 2023 Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers

Rank

Place Name

Metro Name

2023 Metro
Forecast
Rank

2023 Forecasted
25-34 Year Old
Population Share

12 Month Ending
November 2022
Inventory per
1,000 Households

12 Month Ending
November 2022
Price to Income
Ratio

2023 Forecasted
Metro
Unemployment
Rate (%)

2020 Food
and Drink
Establishments
per 1,000
Households

2023 Forecasted
Average Travel
Time to Work

2023 Metro
Forecasted
Price Growth

2023 Metro
Forecasted
Sales Growth

1

Portsmouth, Va.

Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C.

21

15.9 %

58.8

3.9

3.4

5.5

25

5.1 %

3.9 %

2

DeForest, Wisc.

Madison, Wisc.

56

15.1 %

58.1

3.6

2.8

5.5

25

9.0 %

-5.0 %

3

Windsor Locks, Conn.

Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn.

1

12.6 %

41.9

2.7

3.7

5.7

23

8.5 %

6.5 %

4

Gloucester City, N.J.

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Penn.-N.J.-Del.-Md.

43

13.6 %

62.3

2.2

3.7

5.6

25

5.7 %

0.6 %

5

Moore, Okla

Oklahoma City, Okla

36

16.8 %

54.7

3.0

3.1

5.3

27

2.6 %

4.2 %

6

Magna, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

73

16.8 %

73.7

5.1

2.4

5.6

27

5.8 %

-7.6 %

7

Eggertsville, N.Y.

Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y.

5

13.3 %

39.0

3.4

3.9

5.4

20

6.0 %

6.3 %

8

Watervliet, N.Y.

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.

28

15.9 %

18.3

4.0

3.3

5.8

22

4.7 %

3.0 %

9

Mattydale, N.Y.

Syracuse, N.Y.

33

12.9 %

40.9

2.2

3.6

5.3

21

6.1 %

0.9 %

10

Somersworth, N.H.

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass-N.H.

22

14.9 %

30.1

4.6

2.8

6.2

28

9.5 %

-0.6 %


USA



13.4 %

44.9

5.1

4.0

5.3

30

5.4 %

-14.1 %

 

Home shoppers can visit Realtor.com® to learn about the process, see if they might be eligible for down payment assistance and find out how much they can afford. Realtor.com®'s Buying Power tool enables shoppers to save their personal information to their profile, so each home listing will show if it is "affordable," "a stretch," "difficult" or "out of reach" based on a shopper's specific budget.

Methodology
Realtor.com® ranked towns with an expected 2023 population of at least 5,000 residents. The inventory of homes for sale and local median listing prices are from Realtor.com® December 2021 to November 2022 listing data and are reported at the city/place level. The cities and places are defined as postal codes mapped to Census Designated places and reflect approximate but not precise city or place boundaries. The population, household count, household income, and average commute time data were sourced from 2022 and 2023 Claritas estimates based on Census Bureau data. Population and household count numbers are at the city/place level but are also composed of mapped zip code data while household incomes and average commute times at the city/place level. The stated forecasted unemployment rates are Moody's Analytics projections of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics for each city/place's surrounding metro area. Counts of food and beverage establishments are from 2020 County Business Patterns data and are also reported at the metro-level. The 2023 sales and price forecasts are Realtor.com® projections for each city/place's surrounding metro area as detailed in our 2023 Housing Forecast and Top Housing Markets for 2023 reports.

About Realtor.com®
Realtor.com® is an open real estate marketplace built for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 25 years ago. Today, through its website and mobile apps, Realtor.com® is a trusted guide for consumers, empowering more people to find their way home by breaking down barriers, helping them make the right connections, and creating confidence through expert insights and guidance. For professionals, Realtor.com® is a trusted partner for business growth, offering consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today's on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. For more information, visit Realtor.com®.

 

CONTACT: press@realtor.com

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