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Late February, the National Association of Realtors reported that pending U.S. homes sales have increased by 4.6 percent in January, up from the prior month.
But if you're a new kid on the real estate buying block, a new survey finds that prospective first-time homebuyers should probably avoid the West Coast and the Rocky Mountains, if they can.
According to a Bankrate report released on Monday, some metro areas are a choice better for first-timers than others, especially if you're on a budget.
The personal finance website ranked 50 of the largest U.S. metro areas based on their affordability, culture, housing market tightness, job market and safety to determine the list. The study also included data from Attom Data Solutions, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Realtor.com and U.S. Census Bureau.
This year, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, topped the list of metropolitan markets for its high safety and affordability ranking. Raleigh, North Carolina, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, came in second and third, respectively.
What's more, the top 10 best metro areas all had unemployement rates either near or below the national average of 3.7 percent and workers ages 25 to 44 typically earned more than their peers nationwide in these areas as well, according to U.S. Census data.
But for cash-strapped first-time buyers, certain cities on the West Coast didn't rank well on affordability and market availability at all.
San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Jose all ranked as the top four worst metro areas for newbies.
Here is the full list of Bankrate Best/Worst Metro areas for first-time buyers.
Top 10 best metro areas for first-time homebuyers
1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2. Raleigh, North Carolina
3. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
4. Hartford, Connecticut
5. St. Louis, Missouri
6. Cincinnati, Ohio
7. Buffalo, New York
8. Minneapolis, Minnesota
9. Kansas City, Missouri
10. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Top 10 worst metro areas for first-time homebuyers
1. San Francisco, California
2. Los Angeles, California
3. Sacramento, California
4. San Jose, California
5. Seattle, Washington
6. San Bernardino, California
7. San Diego, California
8. Las Vegas, Nevada
9. Miami, Florida
10. Memphis, Tennessee