5 hotspots for newbie homebuyers on a budget

By Real EstateFOXBusiness

Should potential homebuyers consider putting down less than 20 percent down?

United Wholesale Mortgage CEO Mat Ishbia on the state of the housing market and the potential benefits of putting down as little as five percent or 10 percent rather than 20 percent or more.

Despite early reports suggesting that homebuying will be difficult in 2019 with rising interest rates and prices, the latest numbers on U.S. homes sales reveal things are actually in an upswing.

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According to the National Association of Realtors, existing-homes sales surged in February to the highest level in 11 months, jumping more than 11.8 percent to 5.51 million units sold.

The numbers even surprised many analysts who predicted a rate of 5.1 million units.

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And, to top it off, with Manhattan real estate reporting its longest losing streak in 30 years, and its worst first quarter since the financial crisis, according to Douglas Elliman, it could be an especially good time to buy, particularly for first-timers.

But if you're a new kid on the real estate buying block, a new survey finds that prospective first-time homebuyers on a budget should probably avoid the West Coast and the Rocky Mountains and opt for cheaper metro areas.

To determine the list of best cities for first-time homebuyers, GoBankingRates ranked a number of key factors, including median list price, required down payment information and each city's foreclosure rate along with the salary needed to afford a home in the area.

Here are the top five areas that ranked the highest.

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1. Indianapolis

Downtown Indianapolis skyline with the Depew Memorial Fountain, obelisk, park, and the Indiana World War Memorial in the foreground.

Median list price: $221,990

Down payment required: $44,398

Salary needed to afford a home: $46,520

Foreclosure rate: 0.293%

Housing opportunity index: 86.1

2. Pittsburgh

Panoramic view of Pittsburgh and the 3 rivers, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Median list price: $169,900

Down payment required: $33,980

Salary needed to afford a home: $36,400

Foreclosure rate: 0.0497%

Housing opportunity index: 81.1

3. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach Town Center skyline. Virginia Beach Town Center is in the central business district of Virginia Beach and functions as it’s downtown. Virginia Beach is part of the Hampton Roads area.

Median list price: $272,985

Down payment required: $54,597

Salary needed to afford a home: $67,080

Foreclosure rate: 0.0354%

Housing opportunity index: 73.8

4. St. Louis

The St. Louis city skyline with Gateway Arch photographed at sunset.

Median list price: $189,900

Down payment required: $37,980

Salary needed to afford a home: $40,380

Foreclosure rate: 0.0408%

Housing opportunity index: 79.7

5. Buffalo, New York

Downtown Buffalo skyline along the banks of Lake Erie at night. Buffalo is a city in the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Erie County located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie. Buffalo is known for its close proximity to Ni

Median list price: $161,450

Down payment required: $32,290

Salary needed to afford a home: $34,760

Foreclosure rate: 0.0499%

Housing opportunity index: 81.7