Broken Arrow, Okla., may not be the first place anyone thinks of when considering home-ownership, but a new survey says that’s the best place for first-time buyers.
With July being one of the top months for home sales and nearly 40 percent of 2017’s single-family home purchases made by first-time buyers, the personal-finance Web site WalletHub took an in-depth look at 2018’s best and worst cities for those making their first home purchase.
WalletHub took the pulse of real estate in 300 cities of varying sizes using 27 key metrics. The data set ranges from housing affordability to real-estate tax rate to property-crime rate.
Following Broken Arrow, the top five cities for first-time buyers were Tampa; Centennial, Colo.; Boise, Idaho; and Grand Rapids, Mich. Rounding out the top 10 were Thornton, Colo.; Frisco, Texas; McKinney, Texas; Carey, N.C.; and Gilbert, Ariz.
Not to be rude, but where were the worst places for first-time buyers? The bottom five out of the 300 were San Mateo, Calif.; San Francisco; Flint, Mich.; Detroit; and Berkeley, Calif.
Among tidbits from the study:
• Akron, Ohio, has the most affordable housing (median house price divided by median annual household income), with a ratio of 1.72, which is 8.9 times cheaper than in Berkley, the city with the least affordable, with a ratio of 15.25.
• Honolulu has the lowest real-estate tax rate, 0.28 percent, which is 13 times lower than in Waterbury, Conn., the city with the highest at 3.65 percent.
• Shreveport, La., has the lowest average energy cost per household, $109.48, which is four times lower than in Honolulu, the city with the highest at $432.62.
What should first-time buyers consider when choosing a neighborhood?
They “should ask themselves what their priorities are, because they are going to have to live in it,” said James Refalo, chair of the Finance, Law & Real Estate department of California State University Los Angeles.
“There’s an old adage that works from the investment perspective – ‘location, location, location’ – but that ignores many important life details, such as commute time to work, crime or school system,” Refalo said.