Where to buy a home? It’s a common dilemma shared by prospective homebuyers as they weigh what they want versus what they need.
Finance website WalletHub somewhat made it easier by listing down the best (and worst) places for first-time homebuyers. The results came from its analysis of 300 U.S. cities based on 23 key metrics assessing market attractiveness, affordability and quality of life.
Best Places for First-Time Homebuyers
Shopping for homes in these markets seems to be ideal for first-time homebuyers as these cities achieved the highest overall scores on WalletHub’s list. Let’s get to know them.
1. McKinney, Texas. It scored a total of 68.32. The city ranked 191st in terms of ‘affordability’ but managed to offset that low rating by being 1st in the ‘real-estate market’ dimension. It ranked 7th in the ‘quality of life’ criterion.
2. Frisco, Texas. Another Texas city that scored 68.2 overall. Its affordability was 175th, although it came 2nd to McKinney, TX in terms of real-estate market and 5th when it comes to quality of life.
3. Allen, Texas. Scoring 68.15 points, the city was 151th in affordability, 6th in real-estate market, but 3rd in quality of life.
4. Cary, North Carolina. The seventh-largest municipality in NC scored 67.98 overall, being 29th in affordability, 19th in real-estate market, and 46th in quality of life.
5. Norman, Oklahoma. Located south of downtown Oklahoma City, the city scored 67.64. It was ranked 83rd in terms of affordability, 14th in real-estate market and 34th with respect to quality of life.
6. Lincoln, Nebraska. The capital of Nebraska, it racked up 66.61 in points. In terms of affordability, it ranked 88th; 44th for real-estate market; and 19th for quality of life.
7. Richardson, Texas. The fourth Texas city to enter the top 10 list, this city scored 66.32. It was 179th in terms of affordability, 5th in terms of real-estate market, and 12th in terms of quality of life.
8. Boise, Idaho. The capital of Idaho, Boise scored 66.26 overall. If broken down, it was ranked 2nd most affordable, 139th in real-estate market ranking, and ranked 37th for quality of life.
9. Thornton, Colorado. This city garnered 66.04 points. It ranked 122nd in terms of affordability but did rank 21st in real-estate market and 10th for quality of life.
10. Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Scoring 65.97 points, this city ranked 60th in terms of affordability, 10th in terms of real-estate market, and 121st in terms of quality of life.
Honorable mentions: Although it placed no. 185 on the list, Fayetteville, NC was 1st when it comes to affordability. Boca Raton, FL (no. 69 overall) also topped the quality of life criterion.
10 Worst Places for First-Time Homebuyers?
The following cities were at the bottom of the WalletHub list as their affordability rankings would primarily show:
1. (originally number 300) Santa Barbara, California. It raked a total score of 36.22, bogged down by being 298th in terms of affordability and 276th in terms of real-estate market but 17th when it comes to quality of life.
2. (orig. 299) Berkeley, California. Another city in California whose score was 36.29. It ranked 297th in affordability, 278th in real-estate market, and 221st in quality of life.
3. (orig. 298) Oakland, California. The third largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, it racked up 37.48 points. Its affordability ranking is 288th, real-estate market ranking 178th, and quality of life ranking 298th.
4. (orig. 297) Santa Monica, California. Scoring 37.52, it was 299th in terms of affordability, 282th in terms of real-estate market, and 112nd in terms of quality of life.
5. (orig. 296) Miami Beach, Florida. The only Florida city in the bottom 10, it scored 37.95 overall. It’s ranked 283rd in affordability, 294th in real-estate market, and 223rd in quality of life.
6. (orig. 295) San Francisco, California. SanFo scored 39.01. It was the least affordable city (ranked 300th) and ranked 296th and 289th in terms of real-estate market and quality of life, respectively.
7. (orig. 294) Newark, New Jersey. The most populous city in NJ, it scored 39.3. Its affordability, real-estate market, and quality of life rankings stood at 228th, 296th, and 289th.
8. (orig. 293) San Mateo, California. Another city in California with a low score of 39.91. It ranked 293rd in terms of affordability, 268th in terms of real-estate market, and 143th in terms of quality of life.
9. (orig. 292) New York, New York. Second to the last, New York City scored 40.27. It was rated 296th in affordability, 244th in real-estate market, and 201st in quality of life.
10. (orig. 291) El Monte, California. The seventh city in California to be on the bottom list, it scored 41.06. In terms of affordability, it ranked 289th, 281th in terms of real-estate market, and 149th for quality of life.
A full list of the 300 cities and their rankings is available at WalletHub’s analysis.
Justin McHood is a managing partner at Suited Connector and has been recognized by national media outlets as a financial expert for more than a decade.