July 23rd, 2015
First-time homebuyers who are looking for the right mix of a healthy housing market, affordable homes and a welcoming environment should look no further than Overland Park, Kansas. According to a recent study from WalletHub, this is the best city for first-timers to find a home in the U.S.
Though this Midwestern city was among what the study deemed as a mid-sized city (having 150,000-300,000 residents), that didn't stop Overland Park from beating major cities like Colorado Springs, Colorado; Pittsburgh; and Raleigh, North Carolina. In fact, Allen, Texas; Centennial, Colorado; Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; and Frisco, Texas—all small- to mid-sized cities—followed Overland in the ranking.
An in-depth look at the results
The Kansas City suburb, which has 175,000 residents, according to the city website, had the highest overall rank of the cities examined by WalletHub. This was based on scores in three separate categories, which had a few weighted subcategories. For housing affordability, Overland Park scored a rank of 32 out of 300, while earning the 25th spot for real estate market. The city's highest rank was for living environment, where it came in third.
The city's website confirms the positive environment, noting the national recognition Overland Park has received for numerous aspects of its community. These accolades include education, public safety, quality of life awards, among others, as well as low taxes.
What's so great about Overland Park?
Keith King, a Realtor with Keller Williams, spoke with Kansas City NBC affiliate KSHB regarding the WalletHub study results and offered his insights as to why Overland is a great location to purchase a first home. One of the key benefits is the variety and number of available homes in the city.
"Right now, 500 homes are on the market in Overland Park," King told KSHB. "Everything from your $100,000 bungalow—two bedrooms, one bath—all the way up to the $25 million mansion sitting on an estate. You can pretty much find whatever type of home you want there in Overland Park."
King also corroborated WalletHub's findings about the city's low crime rate and top-notch schools. With the latest existing-home sales report from the National Association of Realtors showing more first-time buyers in the housing market, cities like Overland Park supply the homes and positive living environments these consumers need.
The worst cities for first-timers
In addition to knowing where to look for a first home, novice homebuyers want to know locations they should avoid. Of the 300 cities examined by WalletHub, Compton, California, came in at the bottom of the ranking. The city's scores for affordability, real estate market and living environment were 291, 295 and 260, respectively. Though crime is decreasing in the city and home prices are starting to climb as a result, Compton still has work to do. Much of the improvement comes from current Mayor Aja Brown, who has taken steps to curb gang violence in the city.
Other cities at the bottom of the overall ranking were Richmond, California; Miami Beach, Florida; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Oakland, California.