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First-time buyers continue to face challenges as home prices rise

Here are 10 markets experts identify as good for first-time buyers

House keys on hook
Photo (c) peterschreiber.media - Getty Images
With home prices rapidly increasing over the last few years, the challenge facing first-time homebuyers is even steeper in 2022. But with more organizations allowing remote work, buyers have more options than they used to.

Instead of living within commuting distance of an urban area office, employees are able to live farther away and take advantage of more affordable home prices and an overall lower cost of living. The housing experts at Realtor.com have crunched the numbers and assembled a list of the best housing markets for first-time buyers.

To make the list, a city had to have a strong job market, light traffic, plenty of places to eat and drink, a younger population, affordability, and more homes to choose from. The 2022 top 10 markets, in ranked order, are: 

  1. Magna, Utah 

  2. Chalco, Neb.

  3. Mauldin, S.C.

  4. Beech Grove, Ind.

  5. Portsmouth, Va.

  6. Cottage Grove, Wis.

  7. Grimes, Iowa

  8. Kuna, Idaho

  9. Ferndale, Mich.

  10. Maitland, Fla.

"Buying a first home is always a challenging undertaking, and it's been an especially tough couple years for first-time buyers, many of whom are struggling to find a home that's within their budget or win in a competitive bidding situation," said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "With this in mind and the fact that remote work has given people more flexibility in where they live, we wanted to identify markets where first-timers have a chance to become homeowners and find a great quality of life."

The markets on the list have about twice the number of available homes for sale than the national average. They also have the kinds of amenities that tend to draw young families.

A good mortgage rate is also important

But even when you can find an affordable home, Promise, of Hellertown, Pa., says getting the best possible mortgage rate is also an important factor. She reports a good experience dealing with Rocket Mortgage.

“Very efficient, and a small group of people I was in contact with, which I loved because they knew my case through and through,” Promise wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “They answer and explain all questions perfectly! Highly recommend to anyone looking to buy a home for the first time!”

Getting a good mortgage rate is even more important now because rates appear to be heading higher. According to Money magazine, the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage started the week at 3.846%, up 0.039 percentage points over the weekend. 

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