The 10 Best States for First-Time Homebuyers

Unlock the doors to homeownership in the friendliest states for first-time buyers.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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The housing market hasn't been friendly to first-time homeowners over the past few years.

Skyrocketing home values, soaring mortgage rates, and plunging inventory have left many shoppers struggling to find a home they can afford.

But all hope is not lost. There are some states where you can buy a home and still get ahead financially. Here are the 10 states that offer a better environment for a first-time homebuyer.

Editor's note: All median home values are from Redfin for December 2023.

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Ohio

f11photo/Adobe Columbus Ohio

Ohio’s median home sale price is a low $221,700, and the state also offers incentives to first-time homebuyers.

For example, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency offers lower interest rates and a down-payment assistance grant to qualifying first-time homebuyers — including recent graduates.

Other programs offer help with both home purchase loans in low-income neighborhoods and home improvement loans.

Tennessee

jdross75/Adobe Gatlinburg TN cityscape

Want to join one of the fastest-growing states? Tennessee welcomes first-time homebuyers with open arms.

The median sale price for a home is $372,800, which is reasonable. The Tennessee Housing Development Agency offers Great Choice Home Loans to make homeownership more affordable to those with moderate incomes.

The Great Choice Plus program provides down payment help in the form of a flat amount based on the price you paid for the home.

Pennsylvania

andreykr/Adobe philadelphia skyline at night

Housing sale prices in Pennsylvania are low, at a median of $270,600.

The Keystone State also offers assistance to homebuyers. For example, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency provides up to 4% of the purchase prices or market value, or $6,000 — whichever is less — in down payment and closing cost assistance.

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West Virginia

jonbilous/Adobe sunset view of the Potomac River

West Virginia is another great place for first-time homebuyers, with the median home sale price at an affordable $281,800.

The West Virginia Housing Development Fund helps first-time homebuyers finance up to 100% of the price of a home. Whether you’re just starting in a remote role or looking for somewhere to put down roots, this could be the place.

North Carolina

Craig Zerbe/Adobe autumn sunset at Flat Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The median home sale price in North Carolina is a moderate $358,200. The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency also offers a program that provides $8,000 in down payment assistance to qualifying first-time homebuyers and military veterans.

Property tax rates also are moderate in the Tar Heel State.

Kentucky

jackienix/Adobe Kentucky horse farm landscape

Kentucky boasts a median home sale price of $243,600. The Kentucky Housing Corporation offers down payment assistance through a loan of up to $10,000.

For first-time homebuyers, the Bluegrass State might be one of the better places in the country to pursue homeownership.

Mississippi

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe jackson mississippi skyline at sunset

The overall cost of living is low in Mississippi, including housing prices. The median home sale price in the Magnolia State is $233,500.

Low housing costs and an overall low cost of living is a winning combination for first-time homebuyers, who might be eligible for down payment and closing cost assistance through the Mississippi Home Corp.

Iowa

Duane/Adobe sunset over Iowa cornfields with cloudy sky.

With a median home sale price of $251,900, Iowa might be an appealing location for first-time homebuyers in the Midwest.

The Iowa Finance Authority offers a down payment and closing cost program that helps buyers receive a $2,500 grant or a second loan of up to 5% of a home’s sale price.

Connecticut

Gregory/Adobe summer sunset in Old Saybrook along the Connecticut River

Connecticut is a bit pricey, with a median home sale price of $380,300 and some of the highest property taxes in the country. But you could do worse if you want to live in the Northeast.

The Homeowner’s Equity Recovery Opportunity Loan Program is offered to those purchasing distressed properties in neighborhoods that need revitalization and community investment.

In addition, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority offers financing to help with down payment and closing costs, as well as home purchase assistance of up to $15,000 to those who qualify.

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Louisiana

GJGK_Photography/Adobe balcony with plants in the French Quarter New Orleans

The median sale price in Louisiana is a low $242,400. The Louisiana Housing Corp. offers several programs to help homebuyers make a down payment on their new home.

Those factors mean first-time homebuyers might have good reason to venture down to the bayou.

Bottom line

Zoran Zeremski/Adobe woman holding keys

If homeownership is part of your strategy to build wealth, consider a home in one of these states that offers lower median home sale prices or incentives for first-time homeowners.

While moving to a new state can be a challenge, the payoff is often worth it, especially when you consider the money spent over the course of a 30-year loan.

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Author Details

Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.