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First-time millennial home buyer? In Utah and across the nation, it’s tough!

FILE -- A home for sale sign is pictured in the Salt Lake Valley on Friday, July 16, 2021.

SALT LAKE CITY — A first-time millennial home buyer knows that owning a home equates to living the American Dream. And millennials — ages 21 to 37 — are ready to own the dream.

The greatest share of millennials in the nation, 30.4%,  resides in the Provo-Orem area. And coming in at No. 9 is Salt Lake City, with 26.2% of the millenial population according to Quartz business analysts.

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It stands to reason, then, that one of the places with the most millennials looking to buy a home should also be Utah. And it’s likely that finding the right home at the right place in Utah right now is tough.

But not impossible.

What a first-time millennial homebuyer wants, and what they face

Cities like Salt Lake City, Miami, and Orlando attract millennials with their strong local economies, relative affordability, or both, reports realtor.com.

In those cities, millennials want homes that are both affordable and spacious. This is especially true since the world entered the era of remote work and decreased access to public spaces. Some 30% of millennials surveyed said that COVID-19 pushed them to begin house hunting earlier than they originally planned.

But with US home prices leaping 8.4% in the past year — and projected to rise an additional 10.5% in 2021 — millennials are facing the reality of skyrocketing demand and vanishing inventory, according to the 2021 Millennial Home Buyer Report.

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Enter the not-so-new home; 71% of millennials surveyed would be willing to buy a fixer-upper. Nearly 80% could be persuaded to buy a home sight unseen, says the report.

Show a first-time millennial homebuyer the money (and the listing)

The survey of potential first-time buyers by realtor.com found that 44% of millennials don’t have enough money for a down payment, which is 20% for a regular mortgage. That equals $95,000 for a $475,000 home, the current median price for a single-family home in Salt Lake County.

One-third of first-time homebuyers haven’t been able to find a home within their budget.

Real estate in Salt Lake County is scarce, so homes put up for sale move fast.  The average number of days a home is on the market in the county is just 13, down nearly 55.2% from 2020, according to Norada Real Estate Investments.

If you are not selling your current home in order to buy another, you will probably need a loan. Most lenders require a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for most loans. A score above 720 will likely get you the best loan terms, according to Rocket Mortgage, which offers this guide to buying a home.

If you are not set on buying a home only in Utah, four of the top 10 best markets for first-time buyers, as determined by realtor.com, are in the Midwest, according to CNBC and consist of places like Kalamazoo, Michigan and Bloomington, Illinois. But they also tout Taylorsville Utah as a good spot as well.

So, if you’re set on buying a home in Utah, and who wouldn’t be (we have five National Parks and world-class skiing,) here are some state, city, and county resources that may help you buy and keep your home.

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