Looking for a Home? This State Is Best for First-Time Buyers

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If you’re in the market for a home, consider Ohio.

Six of the top 15 cities for first-time homebuyers are in the Buckeye State, a recent LendingTree study shows.

The study singles out four neighboring states — Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania — as offering especially good opportunities for homebuyers:

“Access for first-time homebuyers is great as home prices have not outpaced the growth in the economy and affordability is high.”

For the analysis, the 100 largest cities in the U.S. were evaluated based on six characteristics of favorable housing markets for first-timers.

Half of these characteristics pertain to down payments. LendingTree explains:

“National home prices have surpassed their prior peaks, and homebuyers are faced with bidding wars as inventory is low. These challenges are more onerous for first-time homebuyers who do not have the advantage of another home to sell (that has likely appreciated) to help with funding the down payment for a new home.”

The six characteristics are the:

  • Average down payment amount
  • Share of buyers using a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage — since such buyers tend to be more likely to get approved for a mortgage while still getting competitive interest rates
  • Average down payment percentage
  • Percentage of buyers who have less than prime credit, meaning a credit score of less than 680
  • Share of homes sold that the median income family can afford
  • Average FHA down payment as a percentage of the average down payment for all mortgages

Based on the six factors, the top 15 large cities in the U.S. for first-time homebuyers are:

  1. Little Rock, Arkansas
  2. Birmingham, Alabama
  3. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  4. Youngstown, Ohio
  5. Winston, North Carolina
  6. Dayton, Ohio
  7. Indianapolis
  8. Scranton, Pennsylvania
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. Cincinnati
  11. Toledo, Ohio
  12. Cleveland
  13. Detroit
  14. Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky
  15. Akron, Ohio

At the other end of the spectrum is Denver, ranked last of the 100 cities in the study.

To give you an idea, the average down payment in that Colorado city is $66,800, and 25 percent of buyers have nonprime credit. In No. 1-ranked Little Rock, by comparison, the average down payment is $24,896 and 50 percent of buyers have nonprime credit.

If you’re looking for a mortgage, try Money Talks News’ free mortgage rate search tool. You’ll probably also want to check out:

So, what do you make of this list of the best cities for first-time buyers? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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