Buying Your First Home? Here's Where to Purchase

Turns out, Tampa's got a lot to offer.

Illustration by Phuong Nguyen

Instead of moving to large, highly populated cities in 2018, young professionals and first-time homeowners are opting for more low-key digs, finding success in less obvious places where the price of a home is more affordable. And as it turns out, a recent study by Zillow revealed that Tampa, Florida is actually the best city if you're looking to buy your first home.

Thanks to a good stock of inventory, along with strong value appreciation, and smaller average down payments, Tampa is in a strong position to bring newcomers into the market. “The Tampa Bay area has a strong economic environment and quality job opportunities, as well as a large military employment out of MacDill Air Force Base," says Andrew Duncan, co-founder and CEO of Tampa-based realty company, The Duncan Duo. “Additionally, it's attractive to live in Florida generally and our market is lower priced than Orlando or Miami—so it seems to be a haven for young professionals.”

Not to mention, home values have increased by 12.9 percent over the last year in Tampa, and are expected to rise another 3.7 percent over the next 12 months, according to

Since many millennials are willing to relocate for job opportunities, this is the perfect storm of attractive qualities for a city. And it’s not the first time we’ve seen Florida come up on a list of great places to live right now. Zillow's press release states that “new buyers will have it easiest in the Southeast, especially Texas and Florida. Five of the top 10 markets for first-time buyers are in those two states.” The next-best cities for first-time buyers are Indianapolis, Houston, Orlando, and San Antonio.

For Tampa in particular, buying a home may actually be better for your budget. According to Duncan, “It is cheaper to buy versus rent [in Tampa] based on all the calculators. Our insurance and property taxes are reasonable (because prices still are) and rents were driven up in the past several years due to massive hedge fund activity buying and fixing up neighborhoods. We are even starting to see a trend of first time buyers buying more expensive homes too and skipping the starter homes.”

While Zillow reports that first time home-buyers have been at a disadvantage because of a lack of capital from a previous home sale to help with a down payment or bidding wars, the perks of the reasonable property taxes and lower down payments may weigh out potential costs.

Plus, the Gulf Coast city has tons to offer. “We have a lot of millennials that seem to gravitate to new construction or living in an area with a thriving social scene and nightlife,” Duncan told Domino. Just 30 miles from St. Pete Beach, the Tampa area features a sprawling network of neighborhoods that are connected to a smaller city center along with vibrant cuisine and architecture.

Check out the rest of the top ten best markets here.

See more millennial real estate trends:
Here’s Where Millennials Are Buying Homes in 2018
This Is the Cheapest State for Millennials to Buy Homes
The Best US Cities to Live in, According to Your Job

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Published on March 08, 2018 - 2:40pm EST

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