The Best Cities In The US For Solo First-Time Buyers

The number of Americans living with a spouse or partner has declined in recent years, with a reported 42% currently living alone and, for those under 35, this figure stands at 61%. This results in an increase in those who are buying their first property on their own and while these ‘solo first-time buyers’ are typically thought of as a married couple with children, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Buying A Home For One…

When buying for one, considerations can be a little different from buying as a couple. For starters, household income will typically be one single wage rather than two. This in itself means the monthly mortgage repayments on the property are of primary importance. Furthermore, those buying alone are often relocating; perhaps for work or maybe due to a lack of affordable homes in their current area which causes them to have many more restrictions and fewer options.

The Most Affordable Cities To Buy On Your Own…

We recently studied 311 US towns and cities with a population over 100,000 using our own property listing data to determine the topmost affordable areas to consider when buying a one bedroom home alone.



Edison, New Jersey has been revealed as the best city in the US for solo first-time buyers, with the average mortgage on a one bedroom property costing just 8.78% ($292) of the average monthly income of $3,325.83. This comes down to the affordability of one bedroom homes in the region, with the median value just $65,000.

The remainder of the top 5 is made up of Overland Park, Kansas (8.96% of monthly income), Lafayette, Louisiana (10.1%), Sterling Heights, Michigan (10.87%) and West Palm Beach, Florida (11.15%).

The Cities To Avoid When Buying On Your Own…

Where should you be steering clear of as a solo first-time buyer?



Unsurprisingly, New York, New York comes out as the least affordable city in the US for first-time buyers going in alone, with the average monthly mortgage repayments on a one bedroom home coming in at 114.55% of the median monthly salary.

The other locations which make up the 5 least attractive cities for those buying on their own are Detroit, Michigan (100.01%), Oxnard, California (99.91%), Santa Clara, California (97.89%) and Elk Grove, California (93.13%).

Noticeably, when looking at the 25 least affordable cities, 20 of these are in the state of California. As a whole, you’ll want to avoid the West Coast if you’re buying alone.

State by State…

When studying the data on a state by state level, we see that the most attractive states for solo first-time buyers are Montana (where the average mortgage takes just 8.78% of monthly income), Kentucky (13.21%) and South Dakota (13.82%).


How Does Your State Compare?

Buying on your own can be exciting and scary at the same time, however, our research shows that it doesn’t have to mean a financial struggle.

Carefully choosing a city to buy your first home where salaries are attractive and property prices are low can make a great deal of difference. Also, by getting your first foot onto the property ladder in a small, one bedroom home, monthly mortgage repayments can account for less than 15% of your monthly income which is just above half of the recommended 28% regarded as affordable.

Methodology: A total of 311 locations with a population of greater than 100,000 in the US were studied. For each location, the median value of a one bedroom home was researched using Homes.com data alongside median income figures from the Census Bureau. Upon obtaining the median home values, our own mortgage calculator was utilized to find the average monthly mortgage cost for each city (and to allow mortgage as a percentage of monthly income to be worked out) based upon a 10% down payment and a 3.5% interest rate.

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