The top 15 cities in America to buy your first home

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Pittsburgh’s real estate market is great for young buyers.
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f11photo/Shutterstock

Buying a home is no easy task. You’ll need to save up for a down payment, make sure your credit is in order, meet with mortgage lenders, and spend time shopping around.

But first, you’ll want to consider where you’re buying. After all, real estate agents don’t harp about “location, location, location” for nothing.

New data from SmartAsset shows the best cities for first-time homebuyers – that is, where homes are affordable and it’s easy to get a mortgage – considering seven factors:

    Mortgage lenders: the number of HUD-approved mortgage lenders in each city Value per square foot: the average home value per square foot Loan funding rate: the number of approved mortgage loans originated in 2015 Affordability ratio: the ratio of median household income to median annual housing costs (within the first five years of ownership), including property taxes, closing costs, and homeowners insurance Market volatility: the standard deviation of quarterly annual housing price changes from the first quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2016 Negative quarters since 2011: the number of quarters where home prices fell on a year-over-year basis, starting with the first quarter of 2011 and ending with the last quarter of 2016 Homeowner stability index: the number of years homeowners stay in their homes and the number of homeowners with negative equity

SmartAsset gathered data for US cities with populations over 300,000 for a total of 64 cities and weighted each category equally to determine the final ranking (read the full methodology here).

While many cities in the Midwest and South – including San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and others in Texas – proved exceptional for first-time homebuyers, Pittsburgh came out on top.

Read on to find out the best 15 cities to buy a first home, plus statistics on mortgages, affordability, and home value.


15. Kansas City, Missouri

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Tupungato/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 52

Loan funding rate: 78%

Average value per square foot: $85.75

Affordability ratio: 5.06


14. Corpus Christi, Texas

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CrackerClips Stock Media/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 27

Loan funding rate: 66%

Average value per square foot: $90.33

Affordability ratio: 5.35


13. Arlington, Texas

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Wikimedia Commons

Number of mortgage lenders: 19

Loan funding rate: 74%

Average value per square foot: $94.17

Affordability ratio: 4.81


12. Dallas

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kan_khampanya/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 200

Loan funding rate: 70%

Average value per square foot: $99.08

Affordability ratio: 4.45


(TIE) 10. Wichita, Kansas

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City of Wichita-Government/Facebook

Number of mortgage lenders: 35

Loan funding rate: 78%

Average value per square foot: $84.83

Affordability ratio: 5.31


(TIE) 10. Louisville, Kentucky

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silicon640c/Flickr

Number of mortgage lenders: 72

Loan funding rate: 75%

Average value per square foot: $87.92

Affordability ratio: 4.73


9. Fort Worth, Texas

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Philip Lange/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 48

Loan funding rate: 74%

Average value per square foot: $86.33

Affordability ratio: 4.81


8. Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Vicki L. Miller/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 85

Loan funding rate: 78%

Average value per square foot: $124.92

Affordability ratio: 4.45


7. Houston

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 204

Loan funding rate: 69%

Average value per square foot: $87.50

Affordability ratio: 4.61


6. San Antonio

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Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 125

Loan funding rate: 63%

Average value per square foot: $80.50

Affordability ratio: 4.68


5. Tulsa, Oklahoma

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jbdphotography/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 51

Loan funding rate: 74%

Average value per square foot: $71.83

Affordability ratio: 4.67


4. Indianapolis

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KYPhua/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 73

Loan funding rate: 77%

Average value per square foot: $70.58

Affordability ratio: 5.14


3. Omaha, Nebraska

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Scruggelgreen/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 56

Loan funding rate: 84%

Average value per square foot: $107.08

Affordability ratio: 4.60


2. Oklahoma City

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Matthew Rutledge/Flickr

Number of mortgage lenders: 83

Loan funding rate: 75%

Average value per square foot: $77.76

Affordability ratio: 4.46


1. Pittsburgh

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f11photo/Shutterstock

Number of mortgage lenders: 35

Loan funding rate: 79%

Average value per square foot: $82.08

Affordability ratio: 5.11