Some of us are looking for new places to live. Places where a baby boomer can find a new job, a cheaper home, a fresh set of activities. That’s why we think you’ll be interested in this story recently published by The Christian Science Monitor. It’s about places you might find attractive … or want to steer away from because of cost.
House prices continue to fall nationwide, but here and there they’ve begun to turn up as Americans return to the housing market. Which 10 metropolitan areas have seen the biggest increase in the past year? The winners, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), include a state capital, a furniture-making center, and a resort that was once America’s foreclosure capital. Can you guess who they are?
#10 – Spartanburg, S.C.: house prices up 4.1 percent
Located in South Carolina’s Upcountry region along the commerce-rich 8-85 corridor, metro Spartanburg is seeing house prices move up smartly. Between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2011, median home prices rose from $94,000 to $119,000. And some analysts predict at least a slight increase in the local pace of sales as the year continues.
#9 – South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind.: up 4.3 percent
If you wanted to buy a home at market lows in north-central Indiana, an area Hoosiers refer to as “Michiana” because of its proximity to Michigan, you’re probably too late.
#8 – Bismarck, N.D.: up 5.3 percent
As North Dakota’s economic fortunes have improved, so have housing prices in its state capital. In sharp contrast to the national housing market, home prices never dipped in Bismarck and continue to climb. In 2000, a home in Bismarck was roughly the same price as one in Harrisburg, Pa., another midsize state capital. Now, it’s 20 percent more expensive.
#7 – Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Wis.: up 6.4 percent
A conglomeration of three counties slightly northeast of Iowa’s direct center, the metro area has seen home prices climb from $110,900 to $118,000 in the past year. It has a low foreclosure rate, a 5.6 percent unemployment rate (well below the national average) , rising household income, and an 8.7 percent vacancy rate (in 2010) that’s a third lower than the national average.
#6 – Palm Bay-Melbourne–Titusville, Fla.: up 8.3 percent
Florida was one of the states hit hardest by the housing market collapse and now it’s showing some of the strongest recovery signs. In the Palm Bay metro area, the median single-family home sold for $95,200 a year ago and now stands at $103,100.
#5 – Grand Rapids, Mich.: up 9.8 percent
Michigan, the state of lakes and the auto industry, was knocked to its feet in the Great Recession but is now slowly regaining its footing. The Grand Rapids metro area, hometown to the late President Ford and the second-largest metro in Michigan after Detroit, is a good symbol of the modest uptick.
#4 – Kankakee-Bradley, Il: up 10.0 percent
This midsize Illinois metro area saw housing prices drop 10 percent from its 2007 peak, according to the FHFA, but now it seems to be on the mend. The median home, worth $105,900 a year ago, is now $116, 500.
#3 – Yakima, Wash.: up 11.4 percent
Located in the fertile Yakima Valley, a major wine region and one of the best apple-producing areas in the US, the Yakima metro area has begun to pick up the pieces after the Great Recession brought down housing prices.
#2 – Abilene, Texas: up 16.0 percent
The Abilene metro area includes large swaths of land about 180 miles due west from the larger metropolitan of Dallas-Fort Worth and almost directly in the center of the Lone Star State.
#1 – Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.: up 25.6 percent
Located in Lee County on Florida’s western Gulf coast, Fort Meyers, the so-called “City of Palms,” was remade as a resort destination a few years ago, and is home to miles of beaches and over 40 golf courses. Cape Coral, too, has historically been a haven for retirees. Before the housing bubble burst, it was also a hot spot for speculators.
Read the full report … click here.