Make Ends Meet: First-time homebuying

Many places saw record-breaking home sales as first-time buyers flooded the market during the COVID pandemic.
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 6:18 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Home sweet home became more than just a place for people to lay their heads during the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, home became a place to live, work and learn as students stayed home for virtual learning.

Many places also saw record-breaking home sales as first-time buyers flooded the market.

“Kentucky has a great cost of living for what people in the area are making,” Jill Gonzales, a financial analyst for WalletHub, said. “Affordability is one of Louisville’s strong points. "

She said Kentucky sits in the top 20 states for reasonably priced housing.

“Out of 300 cities small, medium, and large, Louisville ranked 51st overall for a good place to be a home buyer,” Gonzales said.

The financial analyst said Kentucky saw 117 homes go into foreclosure in June 2021, putting the foreclosure rate for the 26th most populated state at one in every 16,957 households. It also put Louisville at number 94 for its foreclosure rate.

Homes are affordable in Louisville, but Gonzales said many home buyers are not prepared for the responsibility and the cost of owning a home.

“In Kentucky we do see people kind of put down the minimum when they’re looking to buy a home and then their mortgage payment gets unsustainable further down the line, especially after a year like 2020,” she said. “Save up before you’re buying and try to put down 20% at least.”

WalletHub also noticed Kentucky homeowners spend a lot on their gas and light bills.

“Home energy cost are high,” Gonsalez said. “The retail level, just the cost of electricity, is not necessarily sky high in Kentucky, but consumption is very high, especially now during the heat of an extremely hot summer.”

In the end, it is the daily habits of Kentuckians that raise the bill, not the rate. Gonzales said leaving lights on, not checking for leaks on windows, and adjusting the thermostat too much are all bad habits.

“People are really cranking up that air conditioning,” she said. “More so than in other states.”

WalletHub also rated Kentucky as number 132 when it comes to the real estate tax rate. For those looking to rent, Kentucky fell at number 32 out of 300 cities.

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