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Affordability remains the top hurdle to buying a home, especially for those taking the plunge for the first time. New buyers, who are generally younger, typically have lower incomes and a shorter credit history, which means they don't often qualify for the best mortgage rates, a study from Nerdwallet notes.

"When these factors are compounded by high sticker prices, low supply — and then the economic impact of a global pandemic — these buyers stand to be pushed out of the market altogether," the report read.

Searching for a starter home can be especially difficult in major metropolitan areas, where high demand translates to high pricing. Many housing markets along the California coast, for example, have an average listing price that's up to 12 times residents' incomes.

However, the study reveals that more than half of the 50 U.S. metro areas covered in the study are relatively affordable.

NerdWallet's analysis compares the median incomes of consumers between 25- and 44-years-old with the median home list prices in the opening quarter of 2020. The smaller the affordability ratio, the less of a financial burden for the buyer to purchase the home.
Here's a look at 12 housing markets where first-time homebuyers find the most affordability, according to NerdWallet.
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No. 12 Indianapolis, Ind.
Affordability ratio: 4.124
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $66,726
Median list price 1Q 2020: $275,182
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No. 11 Minneapolis, Minn.
Affordability ratio: 4.085
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $91,337
Median list price 1Q 2020: $373,137
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No. 10 Birmingham, Ala.
Affordability ratio: 4.043
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $63,362
Median list price 1Q 2020: $256,148
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No. 9 Chicago, Ill.
Affordability ratio: 4.026
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $78,689
Median list price 1Q 2020: $316,791
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No. 8 Philadelphia, Pa.
Affordability ratio: 3.775
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $78,112
Median list price 1Q 2020: $294,837
Baltimore home sales
No. 7 Baltimore, Md.
Affordability ratio: 3.683
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $87,154
Median list price 1Q 2020: $321,025
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No. 6 Detroit, Mich.
Affordability ratio: 3.461
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $67,134
Median list price 1Q 2020: $232,376
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No. 5 Hartford, Conn.
Affordability ratio: 3.38
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $82,261
Median list price 1Q 2020: $278,002
Buffalo, N.Y.
No. 4 Buffalo, N.Y.
Affordability ratio: 3.105
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $64,042
Median list price 1Q 2020: $200,042
Cleveland
No. 3 Cleveland, Ohio
Affordability ratio: 3.085
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $62,042
Median list price 1Q 2020: $191,396
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No. 2 St. Louis, Mo.
Affordability ratio: 3.076
Median first-time home buyer income 1Q 2020: $71,956
Median list price 1Q 2020: $221,364
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No. 1 Pittsburgh, Pa.
Affordability ratio: 2.704
Median first-time homebuyer income 1Q 2020: $74,549
Median list price 1Q 2020: $201,557