Pittsburgh named top city for first-time buyers

By Kelly Leighton | Feb. 15, 2019 | 2 min. read

Pittsburgh recently tied for first place as the best city for first-time homebuyers on a LendingTree list.

The website considered the average down payment amount, average down payment percent, the share of buyers using an FHA mortgage, average FHA down payment as a percentage of the average down payment for all loans, percentage of buyers who have credit scores below 680 and the Housing Opportunity Index score for the area. Cleveland, Ohio, tied with Pittsburgh for top honors.

“Pittsburgh has numerous awards and the newest is one of the top cities to invest in a home for first-time home buyers. Affordability, low unemployment, great universities, abundant nightlife, low crime rate and weekend activities are just some of the attractions that has made Pittsburgh a terrific place to invest in a home,” said Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh President Arch Autenreith. “The average price for homes in the Pittsburgh area is about $195,000, but nice homes are available for around $125,000 or less.”

In Pittsburgh, the average down payment amount is $34,049, or about 15 percent of the cost. More than one-third, 36.5 percent, of buyers use an FHA mortgage and the average FHA down payment as a percentage of the average down payment for all loans is 31.2 percent. Four in 10 buyers have credit scores below 680.

“My company shows the majority of first-time homebuyers are using the government-backed FHA loan. FHA only needs 3.5 percent of the sales price for a down payment. On a $125,000 sales price, that represents $4,375.  An even better way to buy is using a VA loan, with a 0 percent down payment with a veteran’s eligibility certificate. Conventional loans suggest a 20 percent down payment. Lenders oftentimes have special first-time-only home buyer programs too. First-time buyers should work with a Realtor® who can put them in contact with a lender that specializes in first-time mortgages.”

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