Best places for first-time home buyers

A recent study published by WalletHub recognizes five Maricopa County cities on the list of 30 best places for first-time home buyers. The study ranks the best and worst cities in the U.S. based on a variety of criteria including affordability, market attractiveness, property taxes, quality of life and cost of living.

While Tampa, Florida took the #1 spot for its high affordability ranking, Peoria was the highest-ranking Arizona city at #7, with high marks for quality of life. The other four Arizona cities that made the list: Chandler at #12; Gilbert at #16; Surprise at #27; Scottsdale at #29. This bodes well for builders and sellers of starter homes in the area. With the population growing and the average age now at approximately 35, we can assume demand for smaller homes and townhomes will continue to remain strong. 

The study notes that in 2018 first-time home buyers made up 39 percent of all single-family home purchases. Still a significant stat, despite the trends projecting that millennials are delaying home purchases. 

Arizona lifestyle

In 2019, Arizona ranks in the top 5 for states to move to and many of our new residents are coming from California to flee the high cost of living and natural disasters.  Arizona’s lower state taxes and business friendly regulations are also attractive to new residents and companies considering a move.

While there is no denying our summers are hot, the weather across the country appears to also be heating up. In addition to the higher temps they also combat humidity, making our dry heat that much more appealing. Come winter – there’s nowhere nicer to be. Our resort-style living, great shopping, and restaurants, growing economic market combined with our overall lower cost of living have people from both east and west considering the move.

What first-time buyers need to know

When considering where to buy a first home there are many factors to consider. The first step is determining how much you can afford. One of the best ways to determine this is getting pre-qualified for a loan. Doing this will not only help direct you on the price range you should target, but it will also help speed up the process when you find a place to buy.

Once you know the price range you can afford, the next thing to determine is the area. Factors to consider may be the commute to work, school districts, access to retail and restaurants and the area itself.  Some buyers prefer living close to urban areas, while others want something more remote. Other options include opting for a masterplan community or townhome complexes vs. a historic or older neighborhood of single-family homes.

It is most important for first-time home buyers is understanding how much they will need for a down payment and what the different loan options might mean for their monthly expenses. Understanding the numbers will help to make an informed decision that is also one that works within the new homeowner’s budget.

Resources and tools

Working with a professional Realtor can be a great resource for walking you through the home buying process for the first time. In addition, there are online tools available for calculating rates and monthly mortgage payments, comparing home values and projecting monthly costs. The Arizona Department of Housing is also a good resource with information on special programs specifically available to first-time buyers.  

At Landmark Title, we work closely with Realtors and their clients walking them through the title and escrow process to a successful close. If you or anyone you know has questions or needs title and escrow services, we can help. Contact our office directly at (602) 748-2800 or visit our website to find learn more.