The Worst Cities For First-Time Homebuyers

Buying your first home comes with its fair set of challenges, never more so than right now with the pandemic. While many Americans are facing financial uncertainty, the housing market has also had some ups and downs.

For those interested in buying their first home this year, there is hope as mortgage interest rates are some of the lowest ever. There are some cities that first-time homebuyers should avoid so they get the most bang for their buck.


There are two different metrics regarding affordability – national averages and individual affordability. The National Association of Realtors publish findings about the housing affordability of typical American families in a particular region. They examine data such as mortgage loan qualifications based on average income and price. Individual affordability examines additional factors so people can make a personal assessment. It’s no surprise that many cities in California are on the list of the least-affordable places for first-time homebuyers to purchase. Cities that should be avoided include:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Glendale, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Berkeley, CA


Just because the price of a home is high, doesn’t mean it’s not a smart investment. The overall cost-of-living of a city is what dictates whether the purchase is a good idea or not. These cities have the highest cost-of-living:

  • San Mateo, CA
  • Brockton, MA
  • Quincy, MA
  • Lynn, MA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Sunnyvale, CA

Real-Estate Taxes

Since real-estate taxes are only divided up by 12 months, they make up a huge chunk of a monthly mortgage. The lower the taxes, the more affordable your monthly payment will be. These cities have some of the highest real-estate taxes in the nation:

  • Elizabeth, NJ
  • Flint, MI
  • Bridgeport, CT
  • Paterson, NJ
  • Waterbury, CT

Property-Crime Rate

If a neighborhood has a high crime rate, the property values in the area dramatically decrease. If you ever want to sell your home, it can also make that process much more difficult. These cities see some of the highest property crimes in the United States:

  • Memphis, TN
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Springfield, MS
  • Spokane, WA
  • Miami Beach, FL

Consider all of these factors and more before you decide in which city to purchase your first home.

This article was originally published on

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