The 10 worst US cities for first-time homebuyers

Where there are good options, there are also options that are not so ideal. So while there are US cities that rank highly for first-time buyers, there are also those that are at the bottom of the list.

This list is Bankrate’s Best Metro Areas study for first-time home buyers, which examines 50 metro areas, scoring each on affordability, well-being, labor market, market tightness and Security. The scores were then combined to create a final ranking, with affordability counting for 30%, well-being and culture counting for 10%, and housing market tightness, safety and employment factors counting. each for 20%.

Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles ranks 50th in the world for first-time buyers, largely due to its expensive real estate and low median income. LA’s median income is similar to that of Pittsburgh — the No. 1 city on the list — but its housing market is much tighter.

Here are the 10 worst metropolitan areas for first-time home buyers, according to Bankrate:

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim
  2. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise
  3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
  4. Riverside- San Bernardino- Ontario, California
  5. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  6. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood
  7. Houston – The Woodlands – Sugarland
  8. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward
  9. Orlando Florida
  10. San Diego Carlsbad

One thing that stands out: about half of the lowest ranked cities are in California. And these areas almost entirely make up the bottom five accessibility rankings. In terms of affordability, Riverside ranks at #42, San Diego at #47, San Francisco at #48, Los Angeles at #49, and San Jose at #50.

Los Angeles may have been ranked poorly for affordability and the job market, but the area ranks third for wellbeing and culture. Although this category represents only 10% of Bankrate’s final ranking, it may outweigh other factors for some individual buyers.

Likewise, while these 10 areas might not be the most affordable for new homeowners, that doesn’t mean they don’t have other positives. For example, San Jose has a great job market, and residents earn a median salary of $150,000 per year. San Francisco has a wellness and culture ranking of #1 out of 50 metropolitan areas.

While these areas may not be the best choice for a first-time home buyer looking for an affordable home, they may make sense for some buyers. It all depends on individual priorities.

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