St. Petersburg Ranks Among Top Cities in the U.S. for First-Time Home Buyers

"Best & Worst Cities for First-Time Home Buyers," Wallet Hub

By: Adam McCann

July 16, 2018

Buying a home for the first time is an exciting and important milestone for many Americans. Their purchases make up a sizable chunk of the market, too. In 2017, 38% of all U.S. single-family home purchases were made by first-time buyers.

The search for a first home requires careful consideration of a number of factors. Buyers must balance what they want and need with to what they can afford. Often, people begin searching for their dream homes without a realistic idea of market prices, interest rates or even their eligibility to get a mortgage.

Where a home is located is just as important as what features it has. If the neighborhood is unpleasant, it can sour the experience of a great home. Potential buyers may want to narrow their search down to an area with a good reputation before getting into housing details.

To simplify the process, WalletHub compared 300 cities of varying sizes across 27 key indicators of market attractiveness, affordability and quality of life. Our data set ranges from cost of living to real-estate taxes to property-crime rate. Read on for our findings, insight from a panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.

St. Petersburg, Florida

Best Places for First-Time Home Buyers

Overall Rank (1 = Best) City Total Score 'Affordability' Rank 'Real-Estate Market' Rank 'Quality of Life' Rank 
1 Broken Arrow, OK 67.09 55 26 11
2 Tampa, FL 65.79 139 4 15
3 Centennial, CO 64.74 114 51 7
4 Boise, ID 64.69 19 169 43
5 Grand Rapids, MI 64.65 17 18 142
6 Thornton, CO 64.49 122 40 3
7 Frisco, TX 64.26 152 2 44
8 McKinney, TX 64.26 165 1 42
9 Cary, NC 64.03 16 107 23
10 Gilbert, AZ 63.98 4 12 196
11 Chandler, AZ 63.92 10 32 125
12 Kenosha, WI 63.91 46 138 13
13 Peoria, AZ 63.8 20 10 192
14 Orlando, FL 63.78 180 3 29
15 Overland Park, KS 63.51 154 38 9
16 Allen, TX 63.45 132 8 37
17 Arvada, CO 63.37 147 25 6
18 Roseville, CA 63.07 130 9 33
19 Norman, OK 62.97 83 95 10
20 Greeley, CO 62.95 110 69 4
21 Wilmington, NC 62.71 71 21 95
22 Scottsdale, AZ 62.69 76 47 53
23 Longmont, CO 62.61 150 31 8
24 Charleston, SC 62.57 106 15 83
25 Fort Collins, CO 62.54 156 63 1
26 Murfreesboro, TN 62.07 57 13 203
27 Colorado Springs, CO 61.9 84 57 67
28 Westminster, CO 61.89 124 53 18
29 Cape Coral, FL 61.74 135 5 81
30 Surprise, AZ 61.69 7 37 236
31 Raleigh, NC 61.65 45 82 89
32 Columbus, OH 61.45 15 114 105
33 Madison, WI 61.41 92 104 34
34 Hampton, VA 61.38 5 199 99
35 Pittsburgh, PA 61.37 26 103 104
36 Henderson, NV 61.22 25 45 176
37 Livonia, MI 61.01 9 102 167
38 Chesapeake, VA 60.96 18 117 145
39 Pueblo, CO 60.9 96 14 136
40 Spokane Valley, WA 60.87 51 62 189
41 Augusta, GA 60.83 3 259 256
42 Des Moines, IA 60.83 14 165 78
43 Joliet, IL 60.72 64 224 16
44 Green Bay, WI 60.47 79 187 12
45 Phoenix, AZ 60.41 30 36 219
46 St. Petersburg, FL 60.39 131 43 75
47 Naperville, IL 60.3 89 156 19
48 Dearborn, MI 60.28 43 150 199
49 Lincoln, NE 60.23 181 33 45
50 Roswell, GA 60.17 68 52

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Methodology

To determine the most favorable housing markets for first-time home buyers, WalletHub compared a sample of 300 U.S. cities (varying in size) across three key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Real-Estate Market and 3) Quality of Life.

We evaluated those dimensions using 27 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for first-time home buyers. Data for metrics marked with an asterisk (*) were available at the state level only.

Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. Our sample considers only the city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area. Each city was categorized according to the following population-size guidelines:

  • Large cities: More than 300,000 people
  • Midsize cities: 150,000 to 300,000 people
  • Small cities: Fewer than 150,000 people

Affordability – Total Points: 33.33

  • Housing Affordability: Triple Weight (~14.29 Points)
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Median House Price / Median Annual Household Income.
  • Average Cost of Homeowner’s Insurance*: Full Weight (~4.76 Points)
  • Cost of Living: Full Weight (~4.76 Points)
  • Cost per Square Foot: Full Weight (~4.76 Points)
    Note: This metric measures specifically the median list price per average home square footage.
  • Real-Estate Tax Rate: Full Weight (~4.76 Points)

Real-Estate Market – Total Points: 33.33

  • Rent-to-Price-Ratio: Double Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Housing-Market Health Index: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Homes Sold in One Year: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Median Home-Price Appreciation: Double Weight (~4.44 Points)
  • Foreclosure Rate: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Mortgage Holders with Negative Equity: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the proportion of mortgage holders whose balance on mortgage is higher than the value of homes.
  • Buy vs. Rent Breakeven Horizon: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: The “breakeven horizon” is defined by Zillow as the point, in years, at which buying a home becomes less expensive than renting the same home.
  • Share of Listings with Price Cuts: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Housing Units Built between 2010 and 2016: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Building-Permit Activity: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of unit permits pulled per 1,000 residents.
  • Mortgage Lenders per Capita: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Real Estate Agents per Capita: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Homeownership Rate for Millennials: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)

Quality of Life – Total Points: 33.33

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Council for Community and Economic Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Zillow, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Insurance Information Institute, AreaVibes, Renwood RealtyTrac and WalletHub research.

2018 Best & Worst Cities for First-Time Home Buyers

By: Adam McCann, Financial Writer, Wallet Hub

Source: AreaVibes Inc. https://www.areavibes.com/st.+petersburg-fl/livability/