Bloomington, Ill., is the Best Market for First-Time Home Buyers - WIRE.RealEstate

Bloomington, Ill., is the Best Market for First-Time Home Buyers

Apr 13, 2021 12:12 PM ET


First-time buyers looking for an affordable home as well as job opportunities and quality of life may have to bypass major urban cities for more rural, secondary cities as the competition heats up for finding a home. In fact, they will have the best luck in Bloomington, Ill., according to realtor.com® ‘s 2021 Best Markets for First-Time Home Buyers analysis.

With four of the top 10 markets, the Midwest ranks as the best region of the country for first-time home buyers, who according to the National Association of Realtors®, account for nearly one-third of recent buyers. Iowa City, Iowa, ranked No. 2 in this analysis followed by Kalamazoo, Mich.Great Falls, Mont.Eau Claire, Wis.Savannah, Ga.Schenectady, N.Y.TaylorvilleUtahHarrisonburg, Va. and Rapid City, S.D.

“With 50% fewer homes on the market this year than last, the U.S. housing market is competitive for all buyers. First-time buyers are at a bigger disadvantage since they don’t have the funds from a previous home sale to help with their down payment or compete with bidding wars. Our recent survey of potential first-time home buyers confirmed this with 44% indicating they haven’t saved enough for a down payment,” said realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale. “While relocating isn’t an option for everyone, the pandemic has caused many to rethink their priorities, including where they want to live. This analysis was meant to provide some insight for those who are open to expanding their search as they weigh their homeowner options.”

To determine the best markets for first-time home buyers, the majority of whom are millennials, many between the ages of 25 and 34, realtor.com® took into account six factors, including housing prices relative to local incomes, the share of 25- to 34-year-olds living in the market, the availability of homes for sale, job opportunities, distance to work and amenities such as bars and restaurants. To achieve geographic diversification, the ranking was limited to one city per state.

All of the top 10 best markets have median home prices below the current national median price of $370,000Kalamazoo, Mich., has the lowest median home price at $155,000 and Taylorsville, Utah, the highest at $350,000.

Nine of the 10 top cities are home to at least one four-year college or university, which likely contributes to the fact that their residents tend to skew younger than the country overall. Savannah, Ga., has the largest share of adults aged 25-to-34 at 16.9% of the city’s total population. Only Rapid City, S.D., and Harrisonburg, Va., had a lower share of younger adults than the median national average. What these two cities lack in a younger population they make up for in lower unemployment rates, more food and drink establishments per household and a shorter commute to work than the national average.

For those looking for more homes to choose from, Schenectady, N.Y., with a median home price of $210,000, tops the list with nearly 18 listings per 1,000 households, Iowa City, Iowa offers 13.3 listings per 1,000 households, followed by Savannah, Ga., at 13.1 listings per 1,000 households. 

Realtor.com®‘s Top 10 Markets for First-Time Home Buyers

Rank

City

March 2021
Median
Listing
Price

March 2021
Active
Listing per
1,000
Households

Metro Food
and Drink
Establish-

ments per
1,000
Households

25- to 34-
Year-Old
Population
Share (2021
Estimate)

December
2020 Metro
Unemploy-
ment Rate

Estimated 2021
Travel Time to
Work (Minutes)

1

Bloomington, Ill.

$160,000

10.1

5.8

14.3%

5.2%

18

2

Iowa City, Iowa

$305,000

13.3

6.0

14.8%

2.7%

20

3

Kalamazoo,
Mich.

$155,000

7.4

6.1

13.9%

4.9%

21

4

Great Falls,
Mont.

$265,000

6.2

6.1

14.3%

4.4%

17

5

Eau Claire, Wis.

$275,000

6.0

5.8

14.0%

5.1%

18

6

Savannah, Ga.

$275,000

13.1

6.2

16.9%

6.0%

22

7

Schenectady,
N.Y.

$210,000

17.6

6.1

13.5%

5.4%

24

8

Taylorsville,
Utah

$350,000

6.5

5.6

15.9%

3.8%

24

9

Harrisonburg,
Va.

$265,000

11.9

5.6

12.2%

4.0%

18

10

Rapid City, S.D.

$281,000

7.2

5.5

13.2%

3.2%

18

Methodology: To determine the top first-time home buyer markets, realtor.com® ranked 774 cities with a population of more than 50,000 based on the following criteria: the share of 25- to 34-year-olds in the local population; the availability of inventory, measured by active listings per 1,000 existing households; affordability, estimated by the ratio of listing prices to gross incomes of 25- to 34-year-olds in that city; job opportunities estimated by the unemployment rate of the city’s surrounding metro area; the average commute time to work and amenities in an area, estimated by the number of food and drink establishments per 1,000 existing households in the city’s surrounding metro area.

Media Contact

Janice McDill, janice.mcdill@move.com

See Campaign: http://move.com
Contact Information:
Janice McDill, janice.mcdill@move.com

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