• Houston ranked fifth on SmartAsset's list this year, but was absented from last year's ranking.
  • Home prices in Houston are forecasted to remain flat through September.
  • Houston has the largest concentrated of HUD-approved mortgage lenders nationally.

Among metros with a population exceeding 300,000, Houston has been named the fifth-best city for first-time homebuyers. According to analysis from SmartAsset, a primary reason for Houston's ranking is its number of HUD-approved mortgage lenders, 186. This total is the largest consortium of lenders within any major market nationally, which gives residents more options when shopping for a mortgage. Houston mortgage lenders on average fund 69 percent of a loan. In determining its list of top cities for first-time buyers, SmartAsset also eyed markets' real estate values and the volatility of those prices. The average Houston home is said to be valued at $87.50 per square foot. Since 2010, only five times have quarterly home prices dipped (depreciated) on a year-over-year basis...