If you're exploring buying your first home, your best bet may be to head south.
A new study from real-estate research firm Zillow that ranks the best markets around the U.S. for first-time homebuyers is heavy on cities in Florida and Texas.
The ranking is based on factors including affordability, forecasts for increases in value, available inventory and price cuts for listings. Zillow also looked at how long it would take to get a better financial payoff from buying a house rather than renting, known in the trade as the "breakeven horizon."
Residential real estate cross much of the U.S., especially major metro areas, has been a sellers' market in recent years, with tight inventory driving prices in and around many cities to sky-high levels. That's made it difficult for new buyers who are trying to save for a down payment.
"Southeastern markets will be easiest for new buyers, where homes are more affordable and there's less competition. People planning to buy for the first time in some of the tougher markets should be prepared to face a more competitive environment, but that doesn't mean they should count out buying entirely," Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas said in a note.
The top 10 list:
San Antonio, Texas
Saint Louis, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada