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Max Touhey

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Starter Homes 'R' Us

Where in the United States can you afford to buy your very first home?

Owning a home is a deeply American tradition, and many have said that millennials, with their desire for walkability and penchant for city living, would buck this trend and rent forever. But it's looking more and more likely that they won't be able to resist the American Dream.

And why would they? With rental prices soaring across the United States, it's not necessarily cheaper, even month-to-month, to rent. And as more members of the largest generation in our country's history start settling down, they have the power to change the market. With that in mind, we took a deep dive into the state of starter homes: Can you afford one? Where should you look? And is it too late to get in the game?

Here you'll find an examination at why millennials could remake the suburbs when they start buying homes, a breakdown of the priciest and cheapest cities for first-time homebuyers, a look at the costs and styles of entry-level homes around the world, and an overview of Hollywood's take on first-time homeownership. Plus, we have a new section of the Curbed Handbook aimed to help you navigate the homebuying process, and a quiz to help you figure out where to buy.

Brittany Holloway-Brown

Millennials look to suburbs, not cities, for first homes

For years, the conventional wisdom has been that millennials prefer urban living and the culture of big, dense cities; they want to be flexible and avoid owning a home; and if given a choice, they would rent an apartment in a campus-like development. But as millennials age, and more consider starting families, the numbers tell a different story. Predictions that this generation will permanently rent, or stay in cities forever, may have been premature.

Read the full story here.

Starter homes in the United States, by the numbers

A recent report from Zillow found that entry-level home prices in the United States are rising faster than any other category, but that doesn’t mean that buying a home is more expensive than ever before. The real estate company provided Curbed with more than 20 years of market data for the top 35 largest metro areas in the country, and we took a deep dive to see how starter home prices have changed over the last two decades.

Explore the data.

First homes around the world

Across the U.S., and especially in major cities, starter homes are increasingly hard to come by, but what’s the situation like in other cities around the world? Do first-time house hunters overseas have to save for a long time? And how do their options look once they get there? To get a taste, Curbed talked to real estate agents in half a dozen cities: Tokyo, Stockholm, Paris, Addis Ababa, Cape Town, and Kansas City, MO, one U.S. metro where starter homes are still relatively within reach.

Join us on a tour around the globe.

Photo by Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

First homes in film

While homeownership represents security and accomplishment, it more often than not guarantees the opposite. It’s inherently fraught with drama, comedy, and a frightening dose of horror—which is why homeownership makes for such entertaining, and terrifying, movie-going. Here's a look at nine movies that play up the anxieties that accompany first-time homebuying; watch and learn, and don’t make the same mistakes.

Read the full story.


Where should you buy your first home?

There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying your first home, but nothing may be quite as important as the location. To help you narrow down the options, we put together a 10-question quiz based on a recent report of the most college graduate-friendly cities. Designed to highlight livability of each city, while carefully weighing budget and job markets, this quiz will tell you where your first real estate purchase might lead you.

Take the quiz!

Where to buy essentials to kit out your new home

The specter of filling your first home with all the necessities (appliances, towels, dressers, that one organizational doodad that makes sense of your paper clip collection) can loom large—if not quite as large as the price of the whole furnishing and decorating endeavor. To help you navigate the home decor market without going broke, we put together a brief guide to buying quality items at mass market retailers from Ikea to Target, West Elm, and more.

See our favorite finds.

Curbed Handbook: first-time homebuying how-tos

The latest chapter of the Curbed Handbook offers all of the expert advice and tips you need to prepare for buying your first house, apartment, condo, or co-op. Here you'll find a step-by-step breakdown of the purchasing process, information on navigating the mortgage market, how to avoid common mistakes first-time homebuyers make, and more.

Browse the Curbed Handbook.

Starter homes for sale

Even in the country’s most expensive cities, buying a home—if you can afford the upfront cost—is a much smarter financial decision than renting. And no, your options won’t be limited to the abandoned townhouse in an "up-and-coming" neighborhood. Here are 10 great options for first-time buyers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Austin (okay, Austin isn't that expensive).

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