The 10 cities giving Gen Z homebuyers hope right now: Study

(NEXSTAR) – Shopping for a home has been an American nightmare for Generation Z in recent years, as mortgage rates and home prices skyrocketed – but in 2024 there are some cities where hope springs anew.

A recent analysis by Point2Homes found that Gen Z buyers, who are more likely to have entry-level incomes and no home equity, may have the best chance of owning a home in the South and Midwest.

The study ranked the country’s 100 major cities using a weighted score based on seven metrics: home price-to-income, median sale price difference in 2023 vs. 2022, inventory, homes sold above listing, days on market, homeownership rate and unemployment rate.

“Although still new in the housing market, Gen Z’s homebuying patterns already diverge from those of older generations due to their unique lived experiences,” the study’s author notes. “Growing up during a global crisis, they have a heightened focus on wellbeing and going with whatever feels right. And for many, what feels right is having stability earlier in their lives compared to, say, millennials when they were the same age.”

When it comes to the highest rated cities for Gen Z homebuyers, Fort Wayne, Indiana, got the highest score, followed by Corpus Christi, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; Laredo, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Lincoln, Nebraska; Durham, North Carolina; Fort Worth, Texas; Aurora, Colorado; and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Fort Wayne won the top spot thanks to its home price-to-income ratio and low unemployment among Gen Zers.

The study also found that Gen Z home shoppers hoping to buy in coastal states like California may want to reconsider – seven of the 10 “most difficult” cities for Generation Z are located in The Golden State (Fremont, San Diego, San Jose, Riverside, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Chula Vista, respectively).

It’s not just California, however. Thanks to a combination of low inventory, high unemployment among under-25-year-olds and low median income, Lexington, Kentucky, is the third toughest city for Gen Z to buy a home, the study found.

While the home buying process has been easier for baby boomers who already have equity in another house, soaring mortgage rates have created a less-than-appetizing market for all generations.

That may change in 2024, experts say, but don’t hold out for the ultra low rates of 2020 and 2021.

“2023 was terrible to home buyers, but 2024 will be better as mortgage rates fall and homes become more affordable,” said Holden Lewis, NerdWallet home and mortgages expert, in the company’s 2024 Home Buyer Report. “Actually, ‘less unaffordable’ might be a better way to say it. Buyers will likely struggle to find affordable homes in 2024, but the homebuying experience might not be as miserable as in 2023.”

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