These Are the Best and Worst Cities for First-Time Homebuyers in 2020, According to a New Report

published Jul 13, 2020
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Henderson, Nevada
Credit: Khairil Azhar Junos/

Are you ready to take the plunge into home ownership? Like almost everything in 2020, this year has been tough on the residential real estate market. While many people were forced to put their homebuying dreams on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, plenty are still purchasing their first home this year. In fact, according to personal finance site WalletHub, in the fourth quarter of 2019, 39 percent of all U.S. single-family home purchases were made by first-time buyers. 

Along with size and price, one of the most important factors for first-time homebuyers to consider is location. To determine the best and worst markets for new homeowners in 2020, WalletHub analyzed 300 cities of different sizes across 26 key indicators of attractiveness, affordability, and quality of life. Here’s what their report found out about which cities are the best and worst for first-time homebuyers this year.

In terms of the total package, Henderson, Nevada; Boise, Idaho; and Thornton, Colorado topped the list of overall best cities for first-time homebuyers.

The cities that offer the most affordable housing include Akron, Ohio; Peoria, Illinois; and Rochester, New York. On the other end of the spectrum, the top three most expensive markets are all in California: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Glendale. 

The research also ranked cities by size. The top three large cities (defined as population over 300,000 people) are Tampa, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Lexington, Kentucky. The top three mid-size cities (defined as populations between 150,000 and 300,000 people) are Henderson, Nevada; Boise, Idaho; and Chesapeake, Virginia. The top three small cities (defined as population fewer than 150,000 people) are Thornton, Colorado; Hampton, Virginia; and Arvada, California. 

Homebuyers looking for a safe neighborhood should consider Yonkers, New York; Port St. Lucie, Florida; and Mission Viejo California, which earned the top three spots in the category of lowest property-crime rate. 

Hoping for a high return on your investment? Richmond, California; Miami Gardens, Florida and Vallejo, California offer the highest median home-price appreciation. 

To learn more about which cities are the best and worst for first-time homebuyers in 2020, see the full report here