Published on February 1, 2019

photo by jeff herr Pin It
photo by jeff herr

Making the switch from being a longtime renter to a full-time homeowner is a big deal. Aside from assuming all responsibility for leaky pipes, finicky toilets, and unwelcomed basement critters (after all, there’s no landlord around to save you from mice), purchasing property is a serious commitment for your bank account. That said, settling down doesn’t have to feel like a financial burden if you know where to look.

LendingTree recently released a report that sets out to answer a first-time homeowners’ most pressing question: Where can I afford to buy a home? In order to determine the friendliest cities for newcomers, the study ranked the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States from best to worst according to a series of financial factors, including the average down payment amount in that city and the share of buyers using Federal Housing Administration mortgages.

Because down payments are often the biggest obstacles to homeownership, this variable weighed heavily in the rankings. To our surprise, this year’s leading cities aren’t in Florida or Texas, as similar real estate studies have suggested. Instead, first-time owners will have better luck finding a home they love at a price they love in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Oklahoma City.

“While these metros may not necessarily have the lowest credit score requirements or down payments in the country, they consistently rank highly across all six metrics that were considered in this study,” explains LendingTree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze in the report. “Overall, Pittsburgh and Cleveland are tied for first place, while Oklahoma City is third.”

Here’s a breakdown of the most attainable cities and what to expect when you get there.

#1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Average down payment amount: $34,049

Average down payment percentage: 15%

Also known as: the don’t-tell-anyone-how-cool-this-place-is city. Pittsburgh is known for its standout art collection (the Andy Warhol Museum is a must-visit), cozy cafes, and an embrace of outdoor living.

#2. Cleveland, Ohio

Average down payment amount: $32,775

Average down payment percentage: 15%

Also known for: its booming healthcare industry. Cleveland was named as one of the leading cities last year for Millennials on the hunt for positions in the medical field.

#3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Average down payment amount: $30, 234

Average down payment percentage: 13%

Also known for: its retro charm. Sarah James’s Tudor revival home is just one example of how people in this sweet city work hard to keep the past alive. You’ll find a double-decker bus–turned–coffee shop and curated stationery stores on local stylist and shop owner Sara Kate’s go-to list of things to do and see.  

See more stories like this: 

This Country Was Named the Best in the World for the Third Year in a Row

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Here’s Where Everyone Will Be Moving in 2019

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