10 best states for first-time home buyers

  • Steve Heap/iStockphoto

    By Elyssa Kirkham/GOBankingRates

    Buying a home is a financial goal that has been delayed for many Americans thanks to the recent recession. With the economy continuing to strengthen in 2015, however, many wannabe homeowners have decided it's time to buy their first homes.

    One-third (32 percent) of home purchases made in May 2015 were by first-time home buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, called this "an encouraging sign" stemming from "strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low down payment programs." According to Yun, first-time buyers entering the market will continue to increase.

    To see which states offer the best conditions for new homeowners, GOBankingRates ranked the 10 states with the most growth in the number of first-time home buyers, while maintaining lower levels of foreclosure rates, over the past 10 years.

    Read on for top 10 best states for first-time home buyers, as well as insights into local housing market conditions and public assistance programs.

    Methodology: States were ranked according to the increase in the portion of home buyers who were purchasing their first home when comparing 2003 to 2013 numbers reported by the FHFA, controlling for foreclosure rates reported by RealtyTrac. The states with the highest portion of first-time home buyers ranked higher, as did states with lower foreclosure costs, with the former weighted at a two-to-one ratio to the latter. These two factors contributed to a final score which determined the states' rankings in GOBankingRates' study of the best states for first-time home buyers.