10. ST. LOUIS, MO.
Prices are still falling in St. Louis. And its rental market is softer than the rest of the country. But with a median list price of $159,000 in February, houses can still be bought at bargain prices. This market is recommended for long-term investors interested in a conservative market that will promise annual appreciation as the market improves.
9. MILWAUKEE, WIS.
With an unemployment rate of 6.9% at the end of the year, and a median list price of $175,000 in February, Milwaukee is a market that could recover quickly, according to Realtor.com. Inventory is down nearly 21%, compared with a year ago.
8. RALEIGH, N.C.
Raleigh’s apartment-occupancy rate is at 95%, and its unemployment rate is below the national average. Single-home inventory is down by nearly 24% over the year, and the median list price was $215,000 in February, up 7.5% from a year ago. It’s a vacation town and a college town, which means a variety of opportunities to attract renters.
7. SAN JOSE, CALIF.
Those with the means to invest in Silicon Valley could do quite well, as growth in jobs has led to a housing shortage in the area. Because of high housing prices — the median list price in San Jose was $468,888 in February — many residents are renters. And rents are soaring. “A lot of people are getting priced out [of buying]”.
6. SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
Inventories are down more than 30% over the past year in Salt Lake City, and at $195,000 the median list price was up 5.46% in February, compared with a year ago, according to Realtor.com. Tourism is also big in Salt Lake City, which is appealing to investors interested in vacation rentals.
5. FORT WORTH, TEXAS.
Unemployment in Fort Worth is lower than the national average, and demand is driving home sales. Homes there are selling 20 times faster than last year. The median list price in February: $160,000, 8% higher than a year ago.
4. BALTIMORE, MD.
Baltimore should find a bottom in home prices within the year, according to Realtor.com. One indication of stabilization in the market: The median list price was $239,500 in February, up more than 3% from last year. Investors should consider buying now for maximum gains on properties in this area, according to the report. At left, this single-family home north of Baltimore was built in the late 1800s and has been restored.
3. KANSAS CITY, MO.
Prices are recovering in Kansas City, and interested investors may want to consider acting soon, according to Realtor.com. The median list price for homes in Kansas City was $134,950 in February, an increase of nearly 4% when compared with a year ago. Housing inventory is down 21% over the year. “You’re starting to see a little bit of that [economic] recovery work its way through some of Middle America,” Berkowitz said. At left, the view looking north from the Liberty Memorial toward Union Station and downtown Kansas City in early evening.
2. AUSTIN, TEXAS
Compared with the rest of the country, home prices didn’t plummet in Austin — nor in many other parts of Texas, for that matter — when housing markets nationally went from boom to bust. Still, Austin is a city with some of the best potential for price growth, according to Realtor.com. “Austin has been a little of a clone of Silicon Valley, in terms of tech [businesses],” Berkowitz said. At left is a street scene from evening activities during the South By Southwest conference and festival. Austin’s appeal to investors is driven by its strong job market; the local unemployment rate was 6.3% at the end of last year.
1. TUCSON, ARIZ.
Opportunities abound for those interested in buying single-family homes, condominium or co-op units, and town homes as investments, with people scooping up properties at a discount and turning them into rental properties. Their plan: Collect rental income now, then benefit from price appreciation on the property in the future, given that many housing markets appear to be at least nearing their bottoms, in terms of price. And there’s no real shortage of renters, either, since many people still don’t qualify for mortgage loans, said Steve Berkowitz, chief executive of Realtor.com. The best places for investors right now are areas where inventory has fallen although demand hasn’t risen steeply yet, and where the job market is on the upswing, he said. In Tucson, foreclosures plagued the market, but things may be looking up — and investors are taking notice.