Photo: Mark Hesseltine/Flickr
While states with large metros areas like California, Oregon and New York tend to be big draws for young first-time buyers, they are actually among the worst markets for this buyer demographic. Millennial first-time homebuyers would fare better in many states located in the Midwest and Western US, according to a new study by financial services company Bankrate.
To rank the fifty states, Bankrate examined housing affordability, the job market, housing inventory, ease of getting credit and the level of homeownership among Millennials in each state. It then assigned a value from 0 to 10 for each category — with 0 being poor and 10 being excellent — and then totaled the scores for each state.
The study found that there was a world of difference in terms of affordability between the most and least affordable states. Housing payments ate up more than a third of household income in the least affordable states compared to just 13 percent in more affordable states.
And in some states, builders are unable to meet the demand for housing because of the geography, like in San Francisco which has limited space on which to build new housing — or worse, due to restricting regulations — driving up home prices. Steady work is a primary ingredient to successfully purchasing a home, so a healthy job market with low unemployment is a must. But, first-time buyers must also have access to credit in order to take the leap into homeownership.
Millennials were hit the hardest from the fallout of the Great Recession a decade ago, says Bankrate. It found that the generational cohort has been all but frozen out of popular markets like California and New York, as each state has extremely low levels of homeownership among Millennials.
Iowa, with a total score of 40.32, was named the best state for first-time homebuyers, based in part on the relative affordability of its housing. In fact, it was the only state to score a perfect 10 on housing affordability in the study. The state also has a high percentage of homeownership among Millennials, says Bankrate.
Utah and Minnesota rounded out the top three states for first-time buyers, with scores of 40.16 and 39.60, respectively. Utah boasts a healthy Millennial job market and a high level of homeownership among the generational group, while even with a relatively tight inventory Minnesota scored a perfect 10 for its level of Millennial homeownership.
On the other end of the spectrum were New York, Hawaii, and California, ranking as the three worst states for first-time homebuyers.
New York, ranking 48th in the study with a total score of 23.12, suffers from a low level of homeownership among Millennials as well as a poor job market for Millennial workers. The state also has fairly tight inventory, according to Bankrate data.
Housing affordability and Millennial homeownership were the big obstacles in Hawaii, with the state earning scores of zero in both categories. And, while first-time buyers can get credit in California, housing isn’t affordable due to tight inventory, and the state has limited job prospects.
“Hopefully with an improving economy, their wage rates begin to rise, and with homebuilders able to build more homes, hopefully that will contain some of the price growth,” said chief economist at the National Association of Realtors Lawrence Yun in a digital release.
Yun added that slowing annual home price appreciation might give Millennials a greater opportunity to become homeowners in the future.
Click here to read the entire report.