3 Great Cities for First-Time Buyers


First-time buyers looking for good places to buy homes juggle many considerations. All of us are different, of course. We diverge on the kind of weather we like, the sort of culture that appeals  to us, and our political leanings. Some of dream of living in an old farmhouse, having chickens, planting apple trees. Others want the clean, modern lines of new construction and the vibrancy of city life. Some of us want something in between those two extremes. But beyond those differences, there are two considerations most every first-time buyer shares: affordability and employment.

Today ZipRealty offers 3 cities where career prospects are varied and many, each at a different median asking price. We also help you tap into the government programs available to help first-time buyers, no matter where in the US you seek to buy.

3 Cities with the Great Employment Prospects

  • Washington, DC: beyond the 200,000+ government jobs, this metro area offers jobs in virtually every sector of professionalism. D.C. isn’t necessarily one of the least expensive areas to buy a home in, but if good careers are on offer, buying power increases.  Currently the metro has an unemployment rate in the 8% range, which is down a full point from last year at this time. The median asking price in April was $339,000. ZipRealty has also looked at how well real estate values are faring in this metro-- the market is remarkably strong overall. For first-time buyers, this information is exciting: we may feel more confident our investment in a home will grow over time. 

Search for homes in Washington, D.C., here

  • Salt Lake City, UT: Healthcare is a major employer in this metro area, but education, tourism, and the state itself offer job opportunites as well. Salt Lake, with so many different kinds of recreational activities, is also popular with young families, and was in fact  recognized as one of America's "Best Cities" on Kiplinger's 2010 list. The unemployment rate for the metro in Feb of 2012 was 5.8%-- much less than the national average of 8.2%. The median list price in Salt Lake this April is $225K.

Search for homes in Salt Lake City, UT, here

  • Boston, MA: Whether it be one of the country’s most prestigious colleges or biggest Fortune 500 companies, the Boston metro offers a plethora of career prospects. The current unemployment rate of 6.6% confirms this area is weathering the economic downturn relatively well. Meanwhile, the median list price for homes in the Boston metro is $425K. Boston is also a market that's been weathering the real estate meltdown fairly well. Aside from being a "market to watch" in 2012, ZipRealty agents have noticed  this spring an uptick in home sales with mutiple offers, pointing to recovery.  

Search for homes in Boston, MA here

Government  for the People: Help for First-Time Buyers

A great resource for first-time buyers is the federal department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), whose goal is to help Americans preferably by making them homeowners. Among many articles on first-time buying, HUD also offers information on the first-time buyer programs in each state of the union. Such programs may include monetary support (loans, grants, tax credits) and/or education (classes, workshops, counseling).

To check out your state’s offerings, visit HUD’s local first-time buyer programs here.

Additional Resources