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The best markets for first-time home buyers in 2022

As 2022 promises to be another tough year for hopeful homebuyers, Realtor.com has crunched the numbers to find the best deals for people looking to buy their first home this year. The first annual Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers report predicts cities and towns with the best combination of quality of life and affordability that young homebuyers are looking for.

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

The top 10 markets of 2022, in order of ranking, are Magna, Utah; Chalco, Nebraska; Mauldin, South Carolina; Beech Grove, Indiana; Portsmouth, Virginia; Cottage Grove, Wis.; Grimes, Iowa; Kuna, Idaho; Ferndale, Michigan; and Maitland, Florida.

“Buying a first home is always a tough business, and the past few years have been particularly difficult for first-time buyers, many of whom struggle to find a home within their budget or win in a call situation. bidding,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. “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 newcomers have a chance to become homeowners and find a great quality of life. .”

Here are some of the reasons why these markets are attractive to first-time home buyers:

More houses to choose from: The top markets have nearly twice as many homes for sale as the national average. In 2021, these markets had 72.9 active listings per 1,000 households, compared to the national rate of 44.9. Shoppers looking for plenty of options should check out Kuna, Idaho, which has the most choices on the list with 160 active listings per 1,000 households.

A lot of young people : The top 10 markets for first-time home buyers all have a younger population than the country as a whole. Specifically, these areas have an average of 15.2% residents between the ages of 25 and 34, compared to 13.5% for the country as a whole. The city on the list with the most young people is Maitland, Florida, where you’ll find that 17.5% of the population are young adults.

Many choices for food and drink: Lifestyle is important to many first-time home buyers, and the top markets also offer plenty of options for a night out on the town nearby. Realtor.com’s best places for first-time home buyers are in metros, which have an average of 5.3 eating establishments per 1,000 households in the broader metropolitan area, more than the other affordable places on our list. , which average 5.0. Foodies can head to Magna in the Salt Lake City metro area, which has the most places to dine or grab a drink at 5.8 per 1,000 households.

More affordable homes: Sticking to a budget can be difficult for many first-time buyers, but the best deals offer options for the cost-conscious. By comparing the list price of a typical home to the average young adult income, Realtor.com determined that the home price-to-income ratio in the best markets (3.9) was well below the national rate (5.0 ). Home buyers looking for affordability can head to Chalco, Nebraska or Ferndale, Michigan, which offer the most affordable price on the list.

Lots of good jobs – A healthy job market is important for finding a place to settle, and the best markets are in metropolitan areas that have plenty of jobs to offer. These metropolitan areas have an expected unemployment rate of just 2.7%, well below the national average of 3.6%. If job selection is high on the wish list, buyers can check out Chalco, Nebraska in Metro Omaha and Cottage Grove, Wisconsin in Metro Madison, both of which have predicted unemployment. only 2.2%.

Strong local housing markets – All of the cities on the list are in metropolitan areas that are expected to see strong growth in home sales and prices. Sales in these surrounding metropolitan areas are expected to grow 10.2% in 2022, much faster than the national average of 6.6%. Prices are expected to rise 5.4%, which is significantly higher than the national average rate of 2.9%. Magna, Utah has the highest predicted sales growth rate of 15.2% and the highest predicted price growth of 8.5%.

Shorter journeys – Nobody wants to spend hours a day in the car or on the train, and the best markets offer jobs close to home. In fact, the average travel time in these markets is 26 minutes, four minutes longer than the national average. If you’re looking for a short commute, try Grimes, Iowa, where locals typically get to work in just 23 minutes.

Magna, Utah: Coming in at #1, Magna is near Salt Lake City, which was named Realtor.com’s #1 Best Market for 2022. Magna’s easy access to lakes and mountains is a big draw for outdoor enthusiasts , and its proximity to the city offers plenty of jobs without long commutes. New home construction is booming in Magna, providing more options for homebuyers. The region has a fast-growing tech industry and is also an attractive destination for nature lovers who have the option of working remotely. As such, it has seen a large influx of out-of-state transplants since the pandemic began.

Chalco, Nebraska: In the No. 2 spot, Chalco, Nebraska is just outside of Omaha. The Omaha area is home to four Fortune 500 companies, including Berkshire-Hathaway, offering plenty of job opportunities. Locals enjoy their free time in the Chalco Hills Recreation Area, a popular destination for hiking, biking and kayaking. There are also nine universities and colleges in the area, including the University of Nebraska Omaha and Creighton University.

Mauldin, South Carolina: At No. 3 on the list is Mauldin, South Carolina, where first-time buyers will find the charm and natural attractions of a small Southern town combined with a short drive to downtown Greenville, the airport and the dynamic labor market. Residents have plenty to do in Mauldin itself, from its sports and cultural centers to a thriving restaurant scene, including local favorites Wholly Smoke BBQ and Dillard’s Ice Cream. For young families, Mauldin also has top-notch schools like Monarch Elementary.

Beech Grove, Indiana: Landing at point #4 is Beech Grove, Indiana. Known for its strong sense of community, Beech Grove is a city in its own right – literally – as the market is an “excluded city” with a separate government and police department from the neighboring Indianapolis metro area. Home shoppers looking for a sense of nightlife will find plenty of restaurants in downtown Main Street, 24/7 bowling at Beech Grove Bowl, and local craft breweries like Scarlet Grove. Beech Grove has good public schools and a private K-8 school for children.

Portsmouth, Virginia: Fifth place on the list is Portsmouth, Virginia. Located just across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk, this small town offers affordable home prices at $215,000 – well below the national average of $332,000 – and is within driving distance a variety of outdoor activities such as water sports, boating, skiing, snowboarding and hiking. . Home to Norfolk Dockyard and Portsmouth Coast Guard Base, it has a large military population and offers many employment opportunities in defense and related industries. Norfolk Southern and NASA’s Langley Research Center are two major employers in the area.

Cottage Grove, Wis.: The sixth-best market for first-time home buyers is Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. Just 15 miles outside of Madison, this hidden gem offers residents proximity to city jobs with a slower pace of life. The town itself offers a variety of charming shops and restaurants and is just minutes from two premier golf courses – The Oaks Golf Course and Door Creek Golf Course. When looking for nightlife, residents look to Madison for its restaurants and bars and daytime activities such as boating on Lake Mendota and Lake Monona and visiting the popular Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

Grimes, Iowa: Landing at point #7, Grimes, Iowa is just west of Des Moines. The region’s low cost of living and vibrant job market make it an attractive location for young adults. Many residents are happy to learn that they can buy a home for not too much more than the rental cost. Popular activities include cheering on the Iowa State University football and basketball teams. Grimes is only minutes from Des Moines, where locals can enjoy the arts and many cultural activities. Those looking to start a family will appreciate highly rated schools.

Kuna, Idaho: #8 on the list is Kuna, Idaho, just outside of Boise. Locals appreciate the area’s excellent access to outdoor activities, the beautiful surroundings, and the friendly people. With Boise’s housing market booming, younger home buyers will likely have better luck in Kuna than in some of the surrounding towns. The area has seen an influx of transplants from areas like California and Washington who are attracted by the lower cost of living, excellent quality of life, and good schools, including Falcon Ridge Public Charter.

Ferdale, Michigan: Ferndale, Michigan, is in 9th place. This city is attractive to first-time buyers due to its diversity, bustling downtown, and great restaurants. It is well known to locals for its thriving LGBTQ+ community. Ferndale’s proximity to Detroit and its low price make it attractive to first-time buyers looking to break into the housing market. Ferndale has recently seen an influx of buyers from neighboring states like Illinois and Ohio who appreciate the low cost of living.

Maitland, Florida: Rounding out the top 10 is Maitland, Florida. Located near Orlando, Maitland is home to several popular lakes and offers a wide range of homes, many of which are on large lots. Good schools in town, like Dommerich Elementary, attract first-time home buyers with young children. During the pandemic, the region has seen many transplants from places like California, New York and Boston, many of whom are taking advantage of working remotely. The area is also home to a number of Walt Disney World and Amazon workers.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion