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Real Estate: Best Places to Buy a Home for First-Time Homebuyers


As the dream of owning a home becomes a reality for many first-time buyers, navigating the real estate market can be daunting. With rising prices and fluctuating mortgage rates, finding the perfect place to call home requires careful consideration.

In this article, we delve into the insights provided by Zillow’s Chief Economist, Skyler Olsen, to uncover the best markets for first-time homebuyers in the United States.

Defining the Best Markets

When it comes to identifying the best markets for first-time buyers, Zillow focuses on key metrics that directly impact affordability and livability. These metrics include:

  • Rent Affordability: Assessing how easy it is to save for a down payment.
  • Affordability of Listings: Evaluating the cost of available listings in the market.
  • Competitiveness of Inventory: Analyzing the level of competition for homes in the area.

Top Markets for First-Time Buyers

Midwest Charm

  • Indianapolis
  • St. Louis
  • Detroit

Eastern Promise

  • Pittsburgh
  • Baltimore

Surprising Gems

  • Austin
  • San Antonio

Balancing Affordability with Livability

While affordability is a crucial factor, Zillow’s analysis also considers the livability of the markets. This balance led to the inclusion of cities like Austin and San Antonio, driven by a high share of Millennials aged 29 to 43.

Considerations for Homebuyers

Job Location

  • Consider your job location: Your work plays a significant role in choosing where to buy a home.

Community Support

  • Community ties: Factors like childcare and financial support from family can influence your decision.

Financial Preparedness

  • Get pre-approved: Knowing your budget is essential.
  • Shop by monthly payment: Consider fluctuations in mortgage rates.
  • Seek experienced agents: Local expertise can help navigate pricing challenges.

Affordability Challenges

Despite high mortgage rates, the real estate market continues to see limited inventory and rising prices, leading to an increase in million-dollar cities across the US.


Navigating the real estate landscape as a first-time homebuyer requires a blend of financial preparedness, market awareness, and a keen eye for opportunities. By exploring diverse markets and seeking expert guidance, aspiring homeowners can find their perfect place to start their homeownership journey in the ever-evolving real estate market of the United States.


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