How hard is it to buy a house in the L.A. market, where the median home price is nearly $600,000 and the median individual income is only about $28,000 a year? You'd have browse the insane real estate of the tech-crazed Bay Area, where the median home price is $709,000, to find a more difficult market for first-time buyers, according to a new report.
Greater Los Angeles ranked third in the nation among most-challenging markets for homestead first-timers, according to the report released today by real estate listings site ZIllow. L.A. trailed the red-hot markets San Francisco (first) and San Jose (second). San Diego was fourth, demonstrating that homes in the Golden State's largest cities are becoming out of reach for average Californian.
The national report on first-time home buyers says locals in L.A. and Orange counties can expect to pay about $601,900 for an average house. The break-even time compared to renting is four years, eight months, Zillow found. Annual appreciation was forecast at .8 percent.
Zillow's number crunchers looked at median prices, inventory, forecasted appreciation, break-even time compared to renting, and the share of listings with a price cut. The West Coast has "strong job markets, but new buyers will have a tough time entering the market due to low inventory and high home prices," a ZIllow spokeswoman said via email. "Buyers in these areas will have to come up with more than $70,000 as a down payment."
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If you want to find an easier way in the door, the "best" markets for first timers are Orlando, Tampa, Indianapolis, Las Vegas and San Antonio, respectively. They're not exactly big cities, but home prices are a fraction of what they are in California, according to Zillow.
"As millennials reach the typical home buying age, they are coming into a tough housing market with low inventory and lots of competition,” Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell said in a statement. "These markets have more favorable conditions for first-time buyers to become homeowners. More challenging metros aren’t out of reach for new buyers, but they should be prepared to face a more competitive buying environment."