Is Benton County the Best Buy for First Time Home Buyers?
Recently the Tri-City Herald reported Benton County as being the most affordable county in the State of Washington for “first time home buyers”. The source was Runstad Center at the University of Washington. My first impression was how could this be? First, Benton and Franklin County in years past have always reported the same data. Franklin County has always had more starter type homes. Second, Washington State University Real Estate Research Center has been the primary source of such information . Finally, the Tri-Cities has not been the most inexpensive place to live since the recession.
My research revealed that the University of Washington Runstad Center and Washington State Real Estate Research Center have merged. However the data for the most recent quarter does not seem to support the Herald’s article. The higher the index score he more inexpensive the housing. Even though Benton/ Franklin Counties are more affordable than the state average for “first time buyers”, seven counties are more affordable. The problem with these counties is lack of jobs. See chart below.