Millennials are the largest group of first-time buyers – and harder working, doing more research during the home-search process than older generations

– Nearly half (46 percent) of all buyers are purchasing their first home.

– Three of the six best markets for first-time buyers are in Florida.

– Six of the nine most challenging markets for new homebuyers are on the West Coast, where prices are high and inventory is tight.

SEATTLEMarch 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — First-time buyers looking for an affordable home without steep competition will have the best luck in Tampa, Florida, according to Zillow®’s 2019 Best Markets for First-Time Buyers Analysis. This is the second year in a row that Tampa tops this list.

Zillow ranked the 35 largest U.S. housing markets based on where first-time buyers should have the most success moving into a home they love with a strong forecasted appreciation. First-time buyers make up 46 percent of all buyers, and more than 6 in 10 of them are Millennialsi.

The U.S. housing market has cooled recently and inventory is up 1 percent year-over-year, after being down 8.7 percent last year. It’s the first time inventory has been up heading into home-shopping season in at least five years. In even more welcome news for first-time buyers, inventory of less-expensive starter homes has turned around far more – up 4.1 percent after being down 12.9 percent last year. Even with this change, there still are not enough homes for sale to meet buyer demand, and the market remains competitive.

“The shortage of starter homes across the country is finally starting to ease, and that’s good news for would-be first-time buyers who have been saving up to make the leap into homeownership,” said Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of economic research. “Unfortunately, prices of homes in the lower third of the market have risen so much in recent years that for many households’ budgets they no longer qualify as affordable. But markets like Tampa and Las Vegas still provide plenty of bargains.”

First-time buyers are naturally disadvantaged compared with other buyers, because they don’t have capital from a previous home sale to help fund a down payment or keep up with bidding wars. And younger first-time buyers have had less time to save for a down payment than most repeat buyers. Millennialsii go into the process knowing that, and help mitigate those difficulties by working harder than previous generations of home buyers – they take more home tours, attend more open houses, do more research about which homes to look at and contact more agentsiii.

Younger buyers are more likely to go over their budgets to nab their first home. But those buying in the top markets in Zillow’s First-Time Buyers Analysis should have a better chance of staying within budget to buy a home they love, as market trends show they are more likely to require smaller down payments and to have had prices cut.

Ten Best Markets for First-Time Homebuyers

  1. Tampa, FL
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Phoenix, AZ
  4. Atlanta, GA
  5. Orlando, FL
  6. Miami, FL
  7. Detroit, MI
  8. Dallas, TX
  9. Nashville, TN
  10. Charlotte, NC

Ten Most Challenging Markets for First-Time Homebuyers

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Sacramento, CA
  6. Minneapolis, MN
  7. Denver, CO
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. San Jose, CA
  10. Boston, MA

Zillow’s list of the best markets for first-time buyers is based on four metrics:

  • Low median home value that requires a smaller down payment
  • Strong forecasted home value appreciation, helping buyers’ overall wealth grow
  • High inventory-to-household ratio, to indicate available supply
  • High share of listings with a price cut

To help home shoppers better understand all the costs associated with homeownership,, a Zillow Group brand tailored to first-time home buyers, calculates an “All-In Monthly Price” for every home and breaks out estimated expenses that might roll up into a monthly payment, including principal and interest, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, HOA fees and utilities, and closing costs.

Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help. In addition, Zillow operates an industry-leading economics and analytics bureau led by Zillow’s Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. Dr. Gudell and her team of economists and data analysts produce extensive housing data and research covering more than 450 markets at Zillow Real Estate Research. Zillow also sponsors the quarterly Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey, which asks more than 100 leading economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists to predict the path of the Zillow Home Value Index over the next five years. Launched in 2006, Zillow is owned and operated by Zillow Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:Z and ZG), and headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc.

  • Data from the 2018 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.
  • Millennials refers to people between the ages of 24 and 38.
  • Data from the 2018 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends.


For further information: Matt Kreamer, Zillow,