Birmingham, Alabama downtown at dusk with tree-covered residential neighborhoods, lit windows in apartments, and skyscrapers in the distance

Top 10 Real Estate Markets 2024:

Best Cities to Buy a Home for First-Time Buyers

Are you looking to buy your first home in 2024 but feeling a bit lost on where to start? As a leading home builder for first-time buyers, we want to help point you in the right direction. We have completed an extensive analysis of real estate markets across the nation using the latest data on jobs, population, and home prices to identify the top 10 locations primed for new first-time buyers this year. So, in no particular order, here are the top 10 real estate markets for first-time buyers in 2024.

Moore, OK

  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 58.39%
  • Unemployment rate: 3.30%
  • Median Listing Price: $245,000

Situated just 10 miles south of Oklahoma City, Moore has been on our radar for a while now, thanks to its affordability and quality of life. This friendly suburb weathered tragedy in 2013 when an EF5 tornado devastated the community. However, Moore's resilience and unity as a community helped the recovery efforts.

Today, Moore is again thriving with tree-lined neighborhoods, highly rated schools, and family-friendly attractions like the recently renovated Central Park that features a fitness center, an outdoor aquatic center, a children's play park and an amphitheater for cultural occasions.

The job market is strong, too – unemployment sits at just 3.3%. And with the median list price around $245,000, first-timers can find appealing homes and potentially pocket some savings. Several new home communities near Oklahoma City are also springing up, offering move-in-ready homes at affordable prices.

What seals the deal for Moore is its small-town, welcoming vibe paired with the perks of the big city next door. With easy access to career opportunities, entertainment, and the capital city's amenities, Moore offers the best of both worlds.

Dickson, TN


  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 59.07%
  • Unemployment rate: 2.80%
  • Median Listing Price: $399,900

Less than an hour's drive from Nashville is the charming city of Dickson, Tennessee. This hidden gem blends small-town warmth and community with easy access to big-city opportunities.

Yes, the median list price of $399K is toward the higher end of our list. But before you balk at that number, know that Dickson offers some of the state's most favorable first-time homebuyer assistance programs. Generous grants and favorable loan programs (such as the Great Choice Home Loan) from the state and Dickson County are available to help new homeowners.

Beyond the financial perks, Dickson delivers on lifestyle—the cozy historic downtown bursts with boutiques, cafes, and a farmers market. The county school system is highly rated, too—schools regularly rank high in the state, giving families peace of mind. Meanwhile, Montgomery Bell State Park provides everything an outdoor enthusiast could want.

Birmingham, AL


  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 54.26% 
  • Unemployment rate: 4.10%
  • Median Listing Price: $182,500

Birmingham is in the heart of Alabama and offers the total package for first-time buyers. The median home price of $182,500 is well below the national average, giving first-timers an affordable entry point to homeownership. There are plenty of new construction homes for sale in Birmingham, too – often viewed as perfect for first-time buyers.

Birmingham boasts a diversified economy anchored by major companies like Regions Financial, Vulcan Materials, and Alabama Power. This solid corporate presence translates to ample job opportunities and financial stability for residents. The city also continues to invest in infrastructure – new parks, trails and transit make Birmingham even more livable.

Beyond employment prospects, Birmingham scores big on culture and lifestyle. The Birmingham Museum of Art showcases world-class collections, while the Alabama Symphony Orchestra fills concert halls with renowned performances. History buffs can explore the city's crucial role in the Civil Rights movement by visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and 16th Street Baptist Church.

Round Rock, TX


  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 57.86%
  • Unemployment rate: 3.20%
  • Median Listing Price: $499,133

Just north of buzzing Austin sits the suburban oasis of Round Rock, Texas. As major players like Dell, Samsung and Emerson continue to expand in the area, this job-rich market commands slightly higher home prices. While it has the highest median listing on our list ($499K), it still falls below the national average – and you get a significant bang for your buck.

Beyond the robust economy, Round Rock offers outstanding lifestyle perks for families. The Round Rock Independent School District consistently ranks among the top in Texas. At the same time, Old Settlers Park is a 645-acre paradise for outdoor and sports enthusiasts. It boasts six sports complexes, miles of walking trails and a drive-in cinema!

The downtown area features charming boutiques alongside modern plazas. Entertainment is available at the Dell Diamond Triple-A baseball stadium and Kalahari Resort water park. With plenty of amenities and Austin on the doorstep, Round Rock strikes an appealing balance for first-time buyers.

Lakeland, FL

  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 48.97%
  • Unemployment rate: 4.00%
  • Median Listing Price: $349,900

Nestled among the lush lakes and rolling hills of central Florida, Lakeland offers first-timers an affordable entry point to homeownership in a warm and welcoming community. Major employers like Publix, GEICO and Lakeland Regional Health drive economic growth, so jobs and amenities flourish here.

Outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with Lakeland's natural beauty. Greater Lakeland encompasses over 30 pristine lakes, perfect for boating, fishing or simply taking in a sunset over the rippling waters. Circle B Bar Reserve has miles of wooded trails and wetlands. Don't miss Hollis Garden, the opulent botanic garden with year-round blooms of aromatic flowers.

Culture and entertainment thrive in Lakeland as well. Downtown offers a trendy arts district lined with boutiques and restaurants. At the same time, baseball fans flock to Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium each spring to watch the Detroit Tigers. Bonnet Springs Park provides over 200 acres of recreation, and the Florida Children's Museum is also on-site. Lastly, families appreciate the area's highly-ranked school systems and wealth of recreation centers.

Raleigh, NC

  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 58.97%
  • Unemployment rate: 3.50%
  • Median Listing Price: $433,300

Raleigh continues to draw new residents as North Carolina's thriving capital. Home to North Carolina State University and headquarters for prominent tech and research companies, this metro offers bountiful jobs. Raleigh's median home prices are slightly above those of others on this list. Still, you may gain greater value appreciation due to the blossoming job market and convenient location.

Beyond robust industry and innovation, Raleigh offers a well-rounded lifestyle. Outdoor enthusiasts have options like William B. Umstead State Park's hike and bike trails and the Neuse River Greenway's 28 miles of pedestrian pathways. Meanwhile, families flock to acclaimed attractions like the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. And sports fans rally behind college standouts NC State Wolfpack or the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.

Raleigh's Research Triangle region continues to boom as a southeastern hub for technology, medicine, and academics. Now might be the perfect time to buy a new home in Raleigh before housing demand escalates further.

Richmond, VA

  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 58.26%
  • Unemployment rate: 2.90%
  • Median Listing Price: $326,300

Get ready to be wined, dined, and charmed in Richmond, Virginia! This historic hub offers small-city character with plenty of big-city perks. Beyond its business backbone of banking and tobacco giants, Richmond provides a thriving job market for new grads and entrepreneurs alike.

But what truly sets Richmond apart is its exceptionally vibrant food, arts and culture scene. Sip craft brews at one of the metro area's 60+ breweries or sample Virginia vintages along winding wine trails. Marvel at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' impressive collections, observe wildlife and gardens at the sprawling Maymont estate, or immerse yourself in Civil War history at the American Civil War Museum.

With median home prices averaging just below the national rate, Richmond combines affordability with walkable neighborhoods and a booming local economy. Before word gets out any further, discover why Richmond is a top choice for first-time homebuyers.

Provo, UT


  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 78.08%
  • Unemployment rate: 3.00%
  • Median Listing Price: $477,200

With the Wasatch Mountains as its backdrop and Utah Lake at its doorstep, Provo, UT, entices first-time buyers with unrivaled natural splendor and active lifestyle opportunities. It also claims the highest share of residents under 40 on our list at 78%. So you'll be in good company with other young households and new families moving to Provo.

Yes, median home prices here sit on the higher end of our ranking. However, that gives you access to the jobs and economic momentum attracting families to the Silicone Slopes area. Major tech innovators like Adobe, Qualtrics and Vivint Smart Home drive Provo's opportunities. BYU graduates also launch startups at staggering rates, harnessing that Mountain West momentum.

When you want a break from hiking, biking or skiing Provo's nearby peaks and slopes, explore downtown's eclectic mix of boutiques, multicultural cuisine and indie movie theaters. Catch a show at the Covey Center for the Arts, or stroll through the BYU Museum of Art exhibits showcasing local creators. More prominent attractions are just up the road in Salt Lake City.

New Braunfels, TX


  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 57.40% 
  • Unemployment rate: 3.80% 
  • Median Listing Price: $394,300

New Braunfels is where small-town charm meets spectacular Hill Country scenery. This growing hub entices first-time buyers with affordability, natural beauty and a balanced lifestyle.

Major employers like Caterpillar, Valero and New Braunfels Utilities drive economic vitality and ample job opportunities, and the school district has seen several campuses earn state recognition for academic performance. Families take advantage of hiking and biking trails weaving along the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers.

Beyond the outdoors, New Braunfels offers a taste of German heritage with one of the nation's largest annual sausage festivals – the iconic Wurstfest each November. And don't miss the spectacular Schlitterbahn Waterpark for aquatic adventures.
New Braunfels blends small-town hospitality with growing opportunity, leading many first-timers to buy a new home in the Texas Hill Country.

Minneapolis, MN


  • Population Share Aged Under 40: 62.87%
  • Unemployment rate: 3.00%
  • Median Listing Price: $293,200

Get ready for outdoor adventure and cultural riches in Minneapolis, the City of Lakes! This metro area delivers small-town warmth alongside big-city vibrancy, with over 20 glittering lakes and 200 parks woven throughout the landscape.

In addition to natural beauty, Minneapolis offers professional sports excitement. Catch home games for the Vikings, Twins, Wild and Minnesota United FC. Or cheer on championship-winning teams, including the WNBA's Lynx and NCAA powerhouses like the Golden Gophers.

Of course, Minneapolis also houses cultural icons like the Walker Art Center, Guthrie Theater and the legendary First Avenue Music Club, where Prince famously got his start. You can also explore hands-on exhibits at the Minnesota Children's Museum or scream your way through rollercoasters at the Mall of America – the nation's largest mall and so much more.

Major employers like Target, UnitedHealth Group and 3M drive plenty of economic growth and opportunity in Minneapolis. As more residents and businesses continue moving to the metro, new neighborhoods are emerging across the city. Commercial development and new construction homes are transforming pockets of Minneapolis, opening up even more possibilities for first-time buyers.

Put Down Roots in Dynamic and Affordable Cities with LGI Homes

Across this list, we've explored some of the top real estate markets for first-time buyers based on data such as affordability, job growth and quality of life. As more Americans seek communities where they can put down roots without breaking the bank, the data shows the standout appeal of these locations.

LGI Homes builds consumer-inspired new construction homes across many of these exceptional markets. Our move-in-ready floor plans feature open-concept layouts, designer finishes and upgrades as standards.

With favorable home loans for first-time homebuyers and incentives like builder-paid closing costs available in many communities, LGI Homes makes achieving homeownership in these areas more accessible than ever.

You can get started on finding your perfect new home by browsing LGI Homes' available neighborhoods. Please start by selecting your state on our interactive map of communities nationwide to explore homes for sale in amenity-rich communities that offer convenience and a lifestyle that fits you and your family.

Sources: Neilsberg Research, US Bureau of Labor Statistics,

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