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

April 12 2021

Realtor.com's best markets for homeowner hopefuls offer more affordable homes and job opportunities as well as other millennials and a good mix of amenities

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 8, 2021 -- 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.; Taylorville, Utah; Harrisonburg, 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 $370,000. Kalamazoo, 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

rdc 2021 best markets first time buyers

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.

About realtor.com®

Realtor.com® makes buying, selling, renting and living in homes easier and more rewarding for everyone. Realtor.com® pioneered the world of digital real estate more than 20 years ago, and today through its website and mobile apps is a trusted source for the information, tools and professional expertise that help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Using proprietary data science and machine learning technology, realtor.com® pairs buyers and sellers with local agents in their market, helping take the guesswork out of buying and selling a home. For professionals, realtor.com® is a trusted provider of consumer connections and branding solutions that help them succeed in today's on-demand world. Realtor.com® is operated by News Corp [Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA] [ASX: NWS, NWSLV] subsidiary Move, Inc. under a perpetual license from the National Association of REALTORS®. For more information, visit realtor.com.