Grand Rapids ranked No. 3 for first-time home buyers
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Lending Tree, an online lending company, has ranked the Grand Rapids real estate market as being the nation's third best for first-time home buyers.
Grand Rapids ranked third in the study, behind Little Rock, Ark. and Birmingham, Ala., according to the study, which reached its conclusion by looking at the credit data from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for home buyers in 100 U.S. housing markets.
Fifty-nine percent of home buyers in Grand Rapids qualified with less than prime credit ratings, according to the FHA statistics, according to the Lending Tree survey. That's an indicator of younger home buyers who have not
yet established good credit ratings.
Grand Rapids home buyers also came up with lower down payments -- 22 percent of the amount paid by other borrowers, according to Lending Tree. The average down payment for a home in Grand Rapids was calculated at $32,434.
Brian Karimzad, vice president of research at LendingTree, said the FHA statistics show how easy or difficult it can be for first-time home buyers to compete for houses when they go on the market.
Twelve of the top 15 cities in the survey were in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania. "Access for first-time home buyers is great as home prices have not outpaced the growth in the economy and affordability is high," Lending Tree said.
The survey results jibe with other recent surveys that indicate millennials living in West Michigan are entering the housing market in larger numbers than many U.S. cities.
The average price of a home sold in the greater Grand Rapids area last year was $206,936, an 8.6 percent increase over 2016, when the average home sold for $190,477, according to statistics gathered by the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.
West Michigan Realtors struggled with low inventories last year as the number of homes sold fell 3 percent from 2016. Last year, Realtors reported 11,904 home sales throughout the region compared to 12,286 home sales in 2016.