Finding the money for a down payment is one of the biggest challenges facing first-time home buyers. At 20 percent of the sale price, the standard down payment can amount to a lot of cash. But buyers who receive a loan under the Federal Housing Administration may need to come up with as little as 3.5 percent.
The share of buyers able to obtain those loans in the 50 largest metropolitan areas across the country was one of the factors taken into account in a recent study by Lending Tree, which ranked those cities in terms of how hospitable they are to first-time buyers.
Other criteria included the average down payment made by buyers, and its percentage of the sale price; the percentage of successful buyers with lower credit scores; and each area’s Housing Opportunity Index score, which measures the availability of homes affordable to middle-income families.
The results? Pittsburgh and Cleveland topped the list as the best cities for first-time buyers, while Los Angeles and Denver came in last.