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Santa Monica 4th Worst City for First-Time Home Buyers, New Study Finds


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

July 18, 2017 -- Glittering waves and swaying palm trees aside, trying to buy a home in Santa Monica is no day at the beach for first-time buyers, a new study has found.

For the second year in a row, Santa Monica has been ranked one of the most financially out-of-reach cities in the nation for new home buyers, according to findings from Wallet Hub, a personal finance website.

Out of 300 cities of nearly all sizes studied by Wallet Hub this year, Santa Monica ranked No. 297 overall as a city in which to set roots for those house hunters –- or more than a third of the nation's home buyers.

In fact, nearly all of the least affordable cities of all sizes were in the Golden State. Five of them, including Santa Monica, tied with affordability scores of 271. The other four were San Francisco, Glendale, Berkeley and Santa Barbara.

The best cities for first-time home buyers were in Texas, with three Texas localities topping the list -– McKinney, Frisco and Allen, in that order.

Wallet Hub’s findings were much the same for Santa Monica last year, when it ranked 296th of 300 cities ("New Study Ranks Santa Monica Among Least Affordable for First-Time Home Buyers," August 4, 2016).

With its sky-high real estate costs, California in general shut out first-time home-buyers in terms of affordability both this year and last, according to Wallet Hub and other studies on housing markers nationwide.

For large cities, Wallet Hub found Raleigh, North Carolina, to be the best overall choice for first-time home buyers. California didn’t squeeze onto the list until Sacramento took the 29th spot, followed by Bakersfield, ranked 30th.

Wallet Hub said the rankings help serve as a reality call for home-buying novices and can serve to temper home-buying dreams with a strong dose of reality, the group’s researchers said.

“Often, potential buyers begin searching for their dream homes and drafting their wish lists without a realistic idea of market prices, interest rates or even their eligibility to obtain a mortgage,” the site said in announcing the findings.

WalletHub’s analysts used 23 key indicators of market attractiveness that focused on affordability and quality of life, including property crime rates.

The smaller the number, the better the score. Santa Monica was 138 among 140 small cities, followed by Berkeley and Santa Barbara.

A score of 150 was considered average in the study.

Here is how Santa Monica scored in other key categories this year in the first-timers market :

271st – Housing Affordability
28th – Real-Estate Tax Rate
257th – Cost of Living
276th – Rent-to-Price Ratio
72nd – Median Home-Price Appreciation
207th – Property-Crime Rate
151st – Total Home-Energy Cost

To read the full report click here.


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