With all the ups and downs in the housing market, first-time buyers are feeling the effects. But homebuyers in tight housing markets have other options as there are U.S. cities that have stronger markets than others, according to a recent Realtor.com report.
The report ranks the largest 100 metro areas by their expected sales totals and price growth rates in 2024. The city that came out on top? Toledo, Ohio.
Toledo has the highest share of homeowners who own their own with no mortgage, at 41.2%. The median home price in Toledo was also 51.6% lower than the national average, as of October 2023.
First-time buyers in the manufacturing, health, education and government sectors will appreciate the wealth of jobs available in Toledo, according to Realtor.com’s report. That said, Toledo isn’t without some issues. Namely, the city’s unemployment rate is expected to hit 5.2% by the end of 2024. That’s 1% higher than the expected national average of 4.2%.
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Along with Toledo’s growth, other metro areas — mainly on the East Coast — are becoming more affordable. These four cities have more affordable listings than other areas of the country.
Rochester, NY has an average listing price that’s 41.2% below the national average, making it a much more affordable city compared to New York City. The city is home to a variety of job opportunities in healthcare, education and manufacturing. But as the Realtor.com points out, the city also has a thriving art scene that younger buyers could appreciate.
Rochester’s unemployment rate is more positive than Toledo’s, projected to be 3.6% by year’s end. That’s a good chunk lower than the expected 4.2% nationally.
Springfield, MA has been an up-and-coming city for a while, just 1.5 hours from Boston. The average list price at the end of 2023 was 13.3% below the national average, and a hefty 56% lower than Boston’s average listing price.
The unemployment rate isn’t quite as bright as Rochester’s, set to hit 4.1% by the end of 2024.
Springfield’s neighbor, Worcester, is also an affordable area for first-time buyers looking for the city life, especially compared to major metropolitan areas. Worcester’s average listing price is nearly 42% less than Boston’s and about 33% below New York’s metro area, according to Realtor.com’s report. That said, Worcester’s median home price is 14.7% above the national average.
Worcester has a healthy job market at the moment, with an expected unemployment rate of 3.9% by the end of 2024.
Getting away from the East Coast, the Grand Rapids, MI area offers access to the second-largest great lake and a median home listing price that’s 8.2% less than the national average.
Grand Rapids is also expected to end the year solidly matching the national average unemployment rate, indicating that there are plenty of jobs in the city.
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During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote workers flocked to larger cities. These migrations have slowed now that the pandemic has lessened. During the summer of 2023, 24.1% of homebuyers looked into moving to a different metro area, according to a Redfin release. Only 23.9% did the same between October 2023 and December 2023, showing a slight downward trend in relocating that’s set to continue.
While many high-cost cities have seen fewer people moving in, other cities are still seeing substantial growth. Nashville, for example, made Redfin’s list of top cities people of moving to.
“A lot of Nashville locals have been priced out of homeownership, but when you’re coming from somewhere like California or New York, housing prices here still seem reasonable,” said Kristin Sanchez, a local Redfin Premier real estate agent. “Nashville has relatively low property taxes, insurance costs and utility prices, along with no state income tax, all of which definitely help if you’re looking for a lower cost of living.”
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