Real Estate

Miami and Miami Beach the Most Expensive Cities in America to Buy a First Home

The American Dream is alive and well in Miami — provided that you aren't actually trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. In that case, this city is most certainly not for you. Please find the nearest exit.

Not only are rents astronomically high all over the place, but also it's almost impossible to buy a starter home here. A study released yesterday by real-estate website WalletHub named Miami and Miami Beach among the ten worst cities in America to buy your first home. Of the 300 cities surveyed, Miami landed at number 294, and Miami Beach sank like a stone to number 299, besting only Newark, New Jersey.

The reason: WalletHub found that both cities are the most expensive markets in America for first-time home-buyers. Miami Beach was named the single most expensive market, followed by the city of Miami one slot behind. (The study also said Miami Beach had the highest property-crime rate of the cities surveyed.)
Source: WalletHub
WalletHub measured each city according to three metrics: affordability, housing-market health, and quality of life. The "quality of life" benchmark took things such as "public-transit access" and "school quality" into account, so it's no surprise that both Miami-Dade cities nestled at the bottom of the rankings, because city buses seem to appear in Miami with the same relative frequency as that lion-shaped desert cave in Aladdin. But hey: We've got beaches!

To calculate "affordability," the site also studied the average cost of homeowners' insurance in each city. This undoubtedly hurt Miami, given its propensity for flooding, and is certainly a bad sign for the future, since sea-level rise threatens to swallow most of the county within the next hundred years or so. 

But honestly, each city just sort of scored below average in terms of quality of life or housing health. It was our affordability rankings that were abysmal enough to drag us down almost all on their own.

Then again, the whole chart should come with one big disclaimer: Basically, no one buys his or her first home in Miami Beach.

It's quite frightening that city of Miami residents are getting pushed farther and farther out by skyrocketing home prices, but Miami Beach has never really been a first-family-home type of place as it is.