Real Estate

The Best Places to Buy a House on a Budget

First-time home buyers around the country are struggling to amass a down payment in this high-inflation economy. But there may be hope. For those who work remotely or are open to relocating, a recent study by Rocket Homes can help find a new locale.

The study compared 383 major metropolitan areas to find the best ones for home buyers with household incomes of $65,000 — just below the median national household income of $70,784, the most recently reported figure from the U.S. Census Bureau. To arrive at the 10 best metros for these buyers, researchers compared home prices, mortgage payments, income and sales taxes, unemployment and crime rates, the health of residents and climate hazards.

Median home prices were sourced from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Other data were drawn from the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Community Survey, state and local income tax tables, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the F.B.I., and Thirty-year fixed-rate mortgages and 20 percent down payments with an interest rate of 6.5 percent were factored into the calculations.

Midwestern metros fared well, helped by lower prices and protection from coastal climate hazards. Wausau, Wis., with a median home price of $228,770 and an estimated monthly mortgage payment of $1,482, came out on top, spurred by low rates of unemployment and crime. Cities in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota followed. Pittsburgh came in seventh, thanks in large part to the health of its residents. And Chambersburg, Pa., came in eighth, helped by its low crime rate.

If the East coast is for you, consider Bangor, Maine, about 40 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. But if you’re a first-time buyer aching for a home on the West Coast, you may just have to put your hopes on hold.

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