Low median home values make Atlanta a prime market for first time buyers

Michael Fox, left, and his wife Erica Fox, right, pose for a portrait outside their home in Decatur, Georgia, on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. The Fox’s recently purchased their home within the past year after some difficulty searching the market. Now they are seeing its value rise and are proud of the home they have made. (DAVID BARNES / DAVID.BARNES@AJC.COM)

Atlanta ranks among the top markets for first time homebuyers according to a recent analysis from Zillow Research, which issues monthly reports on housing trends across the country.

Many of the most favorable markets for first time homebuyers are concentrated in the South, while the least favorable markets are clustered on the West Coast and the Northeast.

Related: Buying or selling a home in 2017: What to know

The biggest challenge facing first time homebuyers, particularly millennials who are entering the home-buying phase of life, is coming up with the down-payment.

“As millennials reach the typical home buying age, they are coming into a tough housing market with low inventory and lots of competition,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell in a statement.

In more favorable home-buying markets, where median home values are lower and competition is less fierce, potential homebuyers can get aim for a $40,000 down-payment versus the $70,000 that would be required in the most competitive markets such as the Bay Area.

The median home value in the U.S. is $196,500 (as of March 2017). At $175,800, Atlanta’s median home value falls well below the national number.

Read More: Atlanta home prices down for month, up for year

Atlanta also scored well on other metrics in Zillow’s analysis including the Annual Forecasted Home Value Appreciation which at 3.1 is relatively strong.

In addition, the Breakeven Horizon — the length of time, in years, in which a buyer would have to live in a home to make it more financially advantageous to buy it than rent it — is one year and nine months.

Low inventory has been one of the factors that drives housing prices up and out of reach, but Atlanta had the highest level of inventory (normalized by the number of households in each metro area) among the top 10 most favorable markets for first time buyers.

Other markets that offer opportunity for first time buyers are Memphis, Oklahoma City and Orland.

The least favorable markets for first time home buyers are mostly on the West Coast led by San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland and Salt Lake City.

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