This city is right in the middle of the region that
appeals to what real estate market consultant Schleimer
calls the "halfbacks." Those are people from
northern states who moved to Florida, didn't like it
and then moved back, but only halfway. The halfback
region includes Georgia, the Carolinas, parts of Mississippi
and Tennessee. The seasons are more like what they were
used to up North, without the harsh winters, and they're
closer to friends and family. John Burns Housing Cycle
Barometer has Raleigh dead last on its list of markets
that are susceptible to a housing bubble, and the NAR
shows a healthy appreciation of 7.4 percent between
2004 and 2005. The median house price of $185,200 is
well below the national average of $213,000, giving
it nice room to grow. Fortune predicts the region will
do just that, by about 5 percent per year over the next
Major northeastern cities may be the least expected
on a list like this, so we were somewhat surprised to
see Philadelphia show up in a favorable position on
several reports. The NAR quarterly report showed a 12
percent increase in appreciation between 2004 and 2005,
high enough to encourage people to buy homes, but not
at such a dizzying rate as to spark panic purchases.
The housing-cost-to-income ratio, at 31 percent, is
quite favorable compared to other large northeastern
cities (53 percent in Washington, D.C., and Newark,
N.J., and 72 percent in New York City) and while job
growth is small, it's moving in the right direction.
to several major corporations and the country's busiest
airport, Atlanta also is the second-largest housing
market in the nation. Housing prices have enjoyed steady
appreciation without the skyrocketing increases that
have pushed other large markets toward a bubble. Commuters
who have tired of long commutes have sparked resurgence
in in-town development close to transit; the mixed-use
development Atlantic Station has gained national attention
as a true urban village with easy accessibility to jobs
and cultural activities in downtown. Fortune predicts
about 4 percent growth in values for the next two years.
Little Rock, Ark.
Surprised to see Little Rock on this list? If so, join
the club. It's not exactly on a lot of radar screens
as a hot real estate market. But it popped up in a favorable
way on just about every ranking related to housing appreciation,
from the NAR's note of a very respectable 7.7 percent
change from 2004 to 2005 to Fortune's prediction that
that kind of increase should hold fairly steady for
the next two years. This is Local Market Monitor positions
it as one of the most undervalued markets in the country.
At an average price of $155,900, housing there is running
a good 17 percent below where it could be, Winzer says,
making it a great value.
and Birmingham, Ala. These two were too close
to call. The NAR's median price appreciation list gave
a clear nod to Birmingham (4 percent increase from 2004
to 2005, to Cincinnati's 0.7 percent), but Cincinnati
kicked its butt on the Housing Cycle Barometer that
predicts a market's susceptibility to a housing bubble.
(Cincinnati was 30 spots lower on the risk assessment.)
Pricing in both markets is running about 12 percent
under what the experts say it should be, giving them
both plenty of room for nice, steady growth. The forecasters
see that in the future for both markets.