Spring is here. To usher in the season, Auction.com, LLC, the nation’s leading online real estate marketplace, today released its ranking of the hottest major single-family housing markets based on current and expected future housing fundamentals. Among the 49 largest U.S. markets, the top five include Denver, San Antonio, Nashville, Tenn., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Dallas, all of which display rising home prices, favorable affordability, strong housing demand, and excellent economic and demographic conditions pointing to future demand.
“As the U.S. housing market has continued to recover from the Great Recession, we’ve seen significant regional variances in terms of both price appreciation and sales volume,” said Auction.com Executive Vice President Rick Sharga. “Earlier in the recovery, most of the growth came from markets that had suffered the biggest declines during the housing bust, but what we’re seeing today is more in line with fundamental economic trends: markets with the best job growth and population growth are recovering most quickly.”
According to the report, the Southwest remains the strongest U.S. region overall, with robust local economies and strong population growth continuing to drive housing demand. The Southeast and West also show promise, as even previously hard hit housing markets in these regions are improving rapidly.
Top Market Highlights
Denver’s housing market remains among the most robust in the Nation, as a booming local economy continues to drive demand. Employment in Denver is currently at a new record peak – 4.3 percent above its year-ago level – and its population is rapidly increasing, growing at a pace almost triple the national average. As a result, home prices have been appreciating at a torrid pace since mid-2012, hitting a record high in late 2014 on the heels of a 9.3 percent year-over-year growth. With a bustling local economy producing jobs and a burgeoning population base, housing demand is expected to continue to drive prices up even further over the coming years.
San Antonio’s favorable economy, growing population and exceptional affordability has given rise to gradually increasing sales – up 5.5 percent over the past year – and home prices are currently at their all-time peak, appreciating 4.3 percent over the past year. The metro’s population grew 2 percent in 2014, on par with its historical average and marking the fastest rate of expansion in three years. Its local economy continues to post solid fundamentals, with more than three years of uninterrupted employment gains and 8,000 jobs added over the past two months. Unemployment in San Antonio is low, measuring 4 percent in early 2015, and its economy is diversified across multiple industry sectors, lessening the potential impact of declining oil prices in Texas.
Nashville is one of the faces of the new South, driven by education and health services, tourism and a vibrant downtown that is attractive to millennials. Its economy is booming, as local employment has expanded in 12 of the past 14 months, and its population has seen accelerated growth in each of the past four years. Nashville’s housing market has maintained a strong performance and home sales are up 4 percent from a year ago. Increased demand – which is expected to continue over the next few years – has spurred a 6.2 percent year-over year increase in prices.
Fort Lauderdale’s top five ranking is particularly noteworthy, considering this market’s significant decline brought on by the recession. With a population growth of 1.3 percent in 2014, Fort Lauderdale’s demographics remain strong and stable. Employment has expanded by 4.2 percent over the past year – among the fastest growth rates of all large U.S. metros – and all of the 100,000 jobs lost during the recession have been recouped. Sales have regained their footing and median prices have increased 7.8 percent over the past year. Although they have a way to go before reaching their pre-recession peak, current prices represent a healthier, more affordable range for this market. Given Fort Lauderdale’s low permitting activity and improved local economy, its single-family demand should continue to bounce back over the coming years, driving prices up further.
Despite plummeting oil prices, Dallas’ economy remains as strong as ever. With consistently strong gains over the past year, its total employment increased 4.5 percent – and the metro has added more than 20,000 jobs in the past two months alone. Home sales are currently at their highest level in seven years and prices have been rising consistently since early 2012, increasing 26.4 percent over that time period and showing 7.3 percent growth within the past year. While some economic slowdown is expected due to low oil, Dallas’ local economy is diversified enough to hedge against any serious repercussions. Boasting favorable affordability and steady demand, home price appreciation should prevail over the next few years, albeit at a more modest pace.
Market Rankings and Methodology
“Auction.com regularly monitors the nation’s largest 49 housing markets, tracking metrics which include existing home sales, existing home prices, affordability and development activity,” noted Auction.com Chief Economist Peter Muoio. “We pay close attention to the economic and demographic trends in each of these metro areas, as single-family housing markets are naturally intertwined with the overall health of the local economy.”
Sales and pricing activity on the Auction.com platform provides real-time insight into buyer demand and price appetite, particularly among real estate investors. Combining past and current trends with its economic and demographic growth forecasts, Auction.com ranks each of the largest 49 metros for performance potential. While rankings in the top 10 indicate a strong, healthy market with favorable potential over the coming years, those closer to the bottom indicate poor current housing conditions, declining home prices, subpar demand and a weaker outlook.
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