The 15 toughest states for first-time homebuyers

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Some markets prove difficult for first-time buyers to enter. In Mississippi, only 38% of residents under 35 own a home.
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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

While it turns out that millennials do, in fact, want to invest in real estate and purchase homes, it’s easier said than done to become a first-time homebuyer – especially if you live in California or New York.

In many states, a lack of inventory and rising home prices are making it harder than ever for the under 35 set to buy their first place.

New data from Bankrate explores how first-time homebuyers fare in all 50 US states, considering five factors:

    Housing affordability: Percentage of median household income for required for 25- to 44-year-olds to cover mortgage payments (using the median sale price) Entry-level job market: Five-year average unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds Market tightness: Growth in housing stock from 2010 to 2015 and the percentage of homes for sale Credit availability: Percentage of home loans rejected by credit lenders Millennial homeownership rate: Percentage of homeowners under 35

Bankrate weighted each category equally to determine its ranking. California, New York, and Hawaii stood out as the toughest states for new homebuyers, while Midwestern locales, such as Iowa and Minnesota, proved the easiest.

Read on to check out the 15 states where it’s toughest to enter the housing market for the first time.

The metrics included below were all used to calculate Bankrate’s ranking, with the exception of median home value, which was sourced independently from Zillow.


15. Washington

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Seattle.
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kan_khampanya/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 24.33%

Unemployment rate: 6.02%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 29.75%

Median home value: $318,300


14. Florida

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Miami, Florida.
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Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 20.67%

Unemployment rate: 6.8%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 29.52%

Median home value: $203,200


13. Nevada

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Reno, Nevada.
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Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 22.91%

Unemployment rate: 7.76%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 29.52%

Median home value: $230,200


12. South Carolina

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Charleston, South Carolina.
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Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 19.82%

Unemployment rate: 7.72%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 36.91%

Median home value: $142,600


11. West Virginia

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Wheeling, West Virginia.
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David Byron Keener/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 13.46%

Unemployment rate: 8.62%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 41.09%

Median home value: $102,400


10. Massachusetts

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Boston.
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Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 23.22%

Unemployment rate: 5.48%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 28.37%

Median home value: $365,300


9. Oregon

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Portland, Oregon.
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tusharkoley/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 26.83%

Unemployment rate: 6.06%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 26.5%

Median home value: $299,400


8. Colorado

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Boulder, Colorado.
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Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 25.73%

Unemployment rate: 4.98%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 33.37%

Median home value: $322,300


7. Texas

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Austin, Texas.
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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 20.86%

Unemployment rate: 5.62%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 31.64%

Median home value: $163,100


6. Rhode Island

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Providence, Rhode Island.
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Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 20.66%

Unemployment rate: 8.3%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 28.06%

Median home value: $247,400


5. Mississippi

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Jackson, Mississippi.
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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 23.47%

Unemployment rate: 8.08%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 37.98%

Median home value: $112,00


4. Louisiana

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New Orleans.
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Jorg Hackemann/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 17.87%

Unemployment rate: 7.36%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 36.81%

Median home value: N/A


3. New York

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New York City.
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dibrova/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 20.98%

Unemployment rate: 6.7%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 23.47%

Median home value: $280,600


2. Hawaii

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Honolulu.
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Flickr / Edmund Garman

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 38.34%

Unemployment rate: 4.72%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 20.17%

Median home value: $589,300


1. California

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Los Angeles.
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View Apart/Shutterstock

Percentage of median income required for mortgage: 35.17%

Unemployment rate: 7.7%

Under 35 homeownership rate: 23.08%

Median home value: $487,700