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Top 10 Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers in 2024

By Mihaela Lica Butler | January 11, 2024

The most recent report from Realtor.com® has unveiled the top 10 Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers in 2024, revealing unexpected locales where potential buyers may find the best investment opportunities. This year's ranking markets are:

Realtor.com® Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers Ranked
RankPlace NameMetro NameRegion2024 Forecasted 25-34 Homeowner Share of Households12 Month Ending November 2023 Inventoryper 1000 Household12 Month Ending November 2023 Median Listing Price12 Month Ending November 2023 Price to Income Ratio2024 Forecasted Average Travel Time to Work (Minutes)November 2023 Yelp Culture and Lifestyle Businesses per 1000 Households
1Irondequoit, NYRochester, NYNortheast8.2 %34.1$187,0002.52214.9
2Benton, ARLittle Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, ARSouth7.6 %50.2$197,5003.02517.9
3Winterset, IADes Moines-West Des Moines, IAMidwest7.3 %47.8$269,4004.02318.0
4Newington, CTHartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CTNortheast6.6 %37.8$290,2943.42319.2
5Council Bluffs, IAOmaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IAMidwest6.4 %37.6$200,0003.02113.0
6Cheektowaga, NYBuffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NYNortheast7.2 %26.6$199,0003.12122.6
7Grand Rapids, MIGrand Rapids-Wyoming, MIMidwest9.5 %33.1$260,0004.32120.0
8Moore, OKOklahoma City, OKSouth9.7 %43.6$231,4753.22614.1
9Mattydale, NYSyracuse, NYNortheast7.4 %31.6$138,4502.0209.2
10Riviera Beach, MDBaltimore-Columbia-Towson, MDSouth10.9 %59.3$264,0792.73316.7
 USA  5.4 %38.6$382,2305.429 

Realtor.com®'s analysis of the top 10 Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers in 2024 reveals an array of small to mid-size towns and cities that harbor abundant opportunities where affordability intersects with ample inventory, vibrant culture, shorter commute times, projected price growth, and a thriving community of peers in similar age brackets.

Affordability: When making one of life's most significant purchases, affordability plays a pivotal role. In its evaluation, Realtor.com® assessed listing prices compared to the gross household incomes of 25- to 34-year-olds in a city over the past 12 months to gauge home affordability. A lower ratio signifies a more budget-friendly place to reside. The leading markets in this year's roster boasted an average 2023 listing price-to-income ratio of 3.1, in contrast to the national rate of 5.4. Furthermore, homes in these towns and cities flaunted an average median listing price 42% lower than the national median of $382,000. Among the top 10, Mattydale, N.Y., emerged as the most affordable market relative to local incomes for 25–34-year-olds.

Investing in Growth: Acquiring a home entails not just a substantial upfront investment but a commitment for the duration of ownership, necessitating investment in the continual maintenance and upkeep of the property. Naturally, first-time home buyers seek homes that meet their current needs and offer the potential for their investment to flourish. The top markets are within metro areas with an average projected 2024 home price growth rate of 6.1%, significantly surpassing the anticipated national decline of -1.7%. Irondequoit, N.Y., is in the metro area with the highest expected median sale price growth rate (10.4%).

Buying Options: In an era of persistently low inventory levels, the top markets boasted an average count of 40.2 active listings per 1,000 existing households in 2023. One specific area, Riviera Beach, Md., claimed the highest number of active listings per household (59.3 per 1,000) across the top 10 list.

Recreational Pursuits: It's not solely about the house but the surroundings, and first-time buyers are eager to find areas brimming with recreational opportunities. The top destinations on this year's list offer various options for restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping, and entertainment establishments such as theatres, comedy clubs, and art classes per point of interest data from Yelp. The top cities and towns collectively boast 16.6 of these establishments per 1,000 households, slightly surpassing the overall city/town average of 15.6. Notably, Cheektowaga, N.Y.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Newington, Conn. stand out, with a ratio exceeding 19 per 1,000 households.

Efficient Commutes: The duration of the daily commute to and from work significantly influences home buyers' decisions, particularly as the return to the office becomes more prevalent. With an average anticipated 2024 commute time of 24 minutes for the top cities on this year's list, these locales clock in below the city/town average of 30 minutes and the national rate of 29 minutes – saving commuters approximately 50 hours annually for a 5-day workweek. Mattydale, N.Y., boasts the shortest average commute time to work, at 20 minutes.

Youthful Communities: Alongside access to recreational activities, first-time buyers may seek to reside near individuals in similar life stages and within the same age group. The proportion of homeowners aged 25 to 34 in this year's top markets stands at 8.1%, surpassing the national average of 5.4%. Among the top 10 cities and towns, Riviera Beach, Md., is anticipated to have the largest share of young adult homeowners (10.9%), potentially emerging as a focal point for the next generation of first-time home buyers.

10 Best Markets for First Time Homebuyers in 2024 infographic
Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers in 2024 infographic by Realtor.com®
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Mihaela Lica Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues, with an experience of over 25 years in online PR, marketing, and SEO.She covers startups, online marketing, social media, SEO, and other topics of interest for Realty Biz News.
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