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    15 US Cities That Are Great For First-Time Home-Buying Millennials

    Au revoir San Fran, bonjour Savannah.

    Buying a home isn't cheap (to state the obvious), especially when you're young and broke.

    NBC / Via Giphy /

    Home-buying is a daunting process that requires saving up for a deposit, borrowing money, committing to a multi-decades-long mortgage, and navigating things like interest rates, lenders, and mortgage insurance. (Scared? Join the club.)

    And, in many of the nation's biggest cities, where young people tend to live and work, buying a home in the middle-price tier could cost well over a million dollars (looking at you and your $1.5 million "middle-price tier" of homes, San Francisco).

    But in some cities, first-time homebuyers have a slightly easier time, thanks to lower prices, more available inventory, and low unemployment rates.

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    To help first-time homebuyers, pulled a list of cities with a population of more than 50,000 that are well suited for young people. These cities were chosen and ranked using criteria that include home affordability and inventory, local unemployment rates, average commute time, a young local population, and a high concentration of places to eat, drink, and be merry.

    1. Savannah, Georgia

    Colorful homes on a treelined street
    Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

    Median list price: $289,000

    Savannah has more young people than you might think, with 17% of the city's inhabitants aged 25 to 34, according to And it's not too difficult to see why. Savannah has all the perks of city living — great art, architecture, and infrastructure — paired with the natural beauty of waterways, two adjacent wildlife refuges, and the Atlantic Ocean. 

    2. Wilmington, North Carolina

    Sunset near the riverwalk in Wilmington
    Andrew Sherman / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

    Median list price: $389,900

    It's all about the water at this port city, which has direct access to Wrightsville Beach, strong surf, and a vibrant riverwalk near the historic downtown. Oh, and let's not forget plenty of active real estate listings and well-priced homes.

    3. Madison, Wisconsin

    Night shot of the capital building in Madison, Wisconsin
    Denistangneyjr / Getty Images

    Median list price: $369,900

    Around an hour's drive west of Milwaukee is the bustling city of Madison, which sits on an isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona (I cool is that?). In addition to easy access to the water, the city has a university, several quality art museums, and 9 miles of pristine trail à la the Capital City State Trail.

    4. Champaign, Illinois

    5. Davenport, Iowa

    6. Great Falls, Montana

    7. Kalamazoo, Michigan

    8. Charleston, South Carolina

    Downtown Charleston in the evening
    Traveler1116 / Getty Images

    Median list price: $648,500

    While Charleston has a higher median list price than any other city on this list, it also has the highest number of active listings, making your home search a little easier than it might be in other growing cities. But beyond the housing market, Charleston has a lot to offer, with picturesque cobblestone streets, pastel houses, and a waterfront park and promenade with direct access to the Atlantic.

    9. Albany, New York

    View of Albany from the water
    Denistangneyjr / Getty Images

    Median list price: $229,000

    Just two hours north of New York City is the capital city of Albany, where we promise that home prices are much more reasonable. Plus, many of those NYC perks can be found here — a great performing arts scene, plenty of historic sites, and a location right on the Hudson River.

    10. Lawrence, Kansas

    11. Hillsboro, Oregon

    Aerial view of the Portland, Oregon metro area
    Halbergman / Getty Images

    Median list price: $530,000

    Just west of Portland in the prominent city's metro area is Hillsboro, an often-overlooked suburb with a lot to offer. In addition to being a 20-minute drive from ever-popular Portland, Hillsboro has its own selection of wineries, nature trails, and the impressive Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve.

    12. West Jordan, Utah

    View of Salt Lake City and the mountains from a distance
    Denistangneyjr / Getty Images

    Median list price: $565,000

    This fast-growing suburb of Salt Lake City sits squarely in the mountains, offering easy access to hiking trails, skiing, and even the Great Salt Lake itself. In addition to super-low unemployment rates (2.8%, per people rave about Bombay House, a local Indian restaurant.

    13. Hampton, Virginia

    Glimmering city on the water
    Denistangneyjr / Getty Images

    Median list price: $220,000

    Across the bay from Norfolk and Virginia Beach, you'll find homes that are priced well for many first-time homebuyers, direct water access, and a cultural feel that might impress you. Check out the Virginia Air & Space Center, The American Theatre, or one of Hampton's many festivals.

    14. Reno, Nevada

    Sunset over Reno, Nevada
    4kodiak / Getty Images

    Median list price: $594,999

    While home prices aren't cheap, Reno makes up for it with a high rate of availability and mountain view. And if Nevada doesn't sound appealing, keep in mind that Reno is located right on the California border and you can have your feet in Lake Tahoe in a mere 45 minutes. Now that is hard to beat.

    15. Cranston, Rhode Island

    View looking toward Providence on the water
    Shobeir Ansari / Getty Images

    Median list price: $329,900

    This Providence suburb is just about 15 minutes from the heart of the city, making a commute easy and less daunting. On the weekends, stay local and run it out on the 14.5-mile East Bay Bike Path or play in the Scituate Reservoir.

    Do you have any advice for first-time homebuyers? Share your wisdom in the comments!

    And for more stories about life and money, check out the rest of our personal finance posts

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