The run-up in housing prices means first-time buyers are increasingly hitting a wall when they search for affordable properties.
Since the recession ended, builders have focused on the higher end of the market, pegging their products to the rising fortunes of America's upper middle class. Last year, more than half of the available properties were considered "premium" homes, or those in the top one-third of the most expensive in their metropolitan areas.
A new study from Bankrate.com sheds some light into which states offer the best and worst markets for first-time buyers. It may come as no surprise that some Midwestern states rank among the best, offering a wider range of inventory, more affordable homes and low unemployment rates for people between 25 to 34, when many Americans first jump into home buying.
The research may push some young workers to "to think outside the box" when it comes to buying, said Bankrate.com analyst Claes Bell. "Take a longer view of housing, and consider accepting a house with a longer commute. That's one way to get your foot in the door and build equity."
The three best states for first-time home buyers are Iowa, Utah and Minnesota, respectively. Iowa's housing stock is relatively affordable, while the market isn't as tight as in some other states.
Read on to learn about the 11 toughest states for first-time home buyers.