5. Bakersfield, Calif.
> Average no. of days on market: 44
> Median home price: $149,500 (23rd lowest)
> Population: 839,631 (60th lowest)
> Unemployment: 14.14% (4th highest)
Bakersfield joins many other California cities in selling homes fast, but houses in the area are not likely to have San Francisco-like prices. The median home price of $149,500 is the lowest on this list, except for Detroit, and only a little more than a fifth of the median price of a San Francisco house. Only 1,815 houses were listed on the market, a decline of more than 47% from a year earlier. Meanwhile, the 44 days on the market is a drop of 22.8% from a year ago, compared to the national average of 9.67%. The labor market is far weaker in Bakersfield than it is in some of California’s healthier local economies, with an unemployment rate of more than 14% in June, compared to about 7.5% in San Francisco and 8.2% in the United States.
4. Fresno, Calif.
> Average no. of days on market: 43
> Median home price: $174,900 (58th lowest)
> Population: 930,450 (62nd highest)
> Unemployment: 15.54% (2nd highest)
Fresno has many similarities to Bakersfield. The median home price of $174,900 recorded in June is far lower than other California cities such as San Francisco and San Jose, but it is up 10% from a year earlier. Similar to Bakersfield, the 2,237 houses on the market are nearly half (49.1%) the number that were available last year. The 43 days on the market is a drop of 14% compared to a year ago. The economy in Fresno continues to be weak. About 1.8% of the houses in the area are in foreclosure, second only to Phoenix on this list. The unemployment rate of 15.54% is the highest on our list and the second highest of all metropolitan areas surveyed. Meanwhile, the median income is $52,900 as of the end of 2011, or $46,600 less than San Jose.
3. Anchorage, Alaska
> Average no. of days on market: 43
> Median home price: $289,500 (23rd highest)
> Population: 380,821 (20th lowest)
> Unemployment: 6.13% (22nd lowest)
Prospective home buyers in Anchorage really do not have the option of being choosy. There are only 1,120 houses on the market, a decline of about 29% from the previous year. This is the fourth-smallest number of home listings in all metropolitan areas surveyed. Meanwhile, the median home price listing, at $289,500, is up a mere 0.17% from the year earlier, far slower than the growth in places such as Phoenix. Still, the good news is that Anchorage’s median home price is well above the U.S. average of $195,000, signaling a stable housing market. Anchorage is faring better than many of its counterparts economically. The unemployment rate of 6.13% is the lowest of any metropolitan area on the list.
2. Denver, Colo.
> Average no. of days on market: 33
> Median home price: $269,000 (27th highest)
> Population: 2,543,482 (27th highest)
> Unemployment: 7.51% (67th lowest)
The 33 days to sell a house in the Denver area is actually up by 10%, one of the very few metro areas to see an increase in the time it takes to sell a home. Denver was not as hard hit by the housing bust as many other metropolitan areas. Home prices from their peak in the first quarter of 2006 to the fourth quarter of 2011 dropped just 11.1%, well below the national average of 34.2%. A median family income of $75,000 and an unemployment rate of 7.5%, both well below national averages, are positive signals for a housing market likely to remain on stable footing. The only bad news is that housing prices are not expected to jump anytime soon. Home prices are projected to rise 0.6% in the Denver area from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to 4.2% in the U.S. in general.
1. Oakland, Calif.
> Average no. of days on market: 24
> Median home price: $379,000 (12th highest)
> Population: 4,335,391 (16th highest)
> Unemployment: 9.56% (20th highest)
If you want a house in Oakland, you had better grab it while it’s hot. The average house in Oakland is sold 24 days after its been on the market, the fastest of all metro areas by a sizable nine days. From the time housing prices peaked in the first quarter of 2006 to the fourth quarter of 2011, home prices plummeted 45.9%, significantly higher than the U.S. average of 34.2%. Still, that is better than its California counterparts of Bakersfield and Fresno, where housing prices plunged 58.3% and 54.7%, respectively. Only 3,547 houses were on the market for an area population of 4,335,391 (which includes the San Francisco area). The number of available homes declined 57.92% compared to the year earlier period.