The 10 States with the Strongest Housing Markets

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10. Montana
> 1 yr. home price change: +5.6%
> Median home price: $151,300
> Unemployment rate: 6.4% (15th lowest)

Montana shares characteristics with several of the Plains States. It never suffered from high unemployment during the recession; as a matter for fact, the jobless rate has been extraordinarily low. The agriculture and oil industries did well, and commodity prices were high. The cost of living in these states was, and still is, relatively low compared to the national average, and so are home prices. The benefits of being a homeowner in Montana should continue. Corelogic predicts that the appreciation in home prices in the state will be the 14th best among all states from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014, and the 12th best among all states from the first quarter of this year through the first quarter of 2017.

9. Hawaii
> 1 yr. home price change: +5.7%
> Median home price: $522,000
> Unemployment rate: 6.4% (14th lowest)

Hawaii has the highest median home price of any state by a wide margin. That is even after home prices fell 20.4% between the 2007 housing market peak through the first quarter of this year. Forecasts, however, show that the recent improvement should moderate. Corelogic predicts home prices will rise 3.2% between the first quarter of next year and the first quarter of 2014. That ranks Hawaii No. 28 among all states. The value of a home in Hawaii is predicted to rise 3% on an annualized basis between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2017, only the 35th highest increase among all states.

8. South Carolina
> 1 yr. home price change: +6.3%
> Median home price: $129,900
> Unemployment rate: 9.6% (6th highest)

South Carolina suffered relatively high unemployment during the recession, and it remains above the national average of 8.3%. The real estate market also suffered during that time. And despite the year-over-year 6.3% home price in July, it may continue to suffer. RealtyTrac reported that foreclosure starts rose 25% in July 2012 over July 2011. That puts it in the 10th spot among all states. The recent improvement in home prices is expected to be short-lived. Corelogic expects home prices to improve only 2.3% between the first quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of the following year, only the 38th highest rise among all states. Longer term, from the first quarter of this year to the first quarter of 2017, prices on an annualized basis are predicted to rise only 3.2%, which ranks it 27th among all states. South Carolina is one of several states 24/7 Wall St. found will only have a momentary housing price recovery.

Also Read: Cities With the Most Homes in Foreclosure

7. Florida
> 1 yr. home price change: +6.6%
> Median home price: $236,000
> Unemployment rate: 8.8% (12th highest)

One of states most brutally damaged by the wreck of the housing market bubble, Florida’s home prices dropped 48.4% from the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of this year. Only Arizona, Nevada and California are even in that league. The problem arose from a combination of overbuilding and high unemployment, which was created to some extend by the drop in home construction jobs. The recovery of the state housing market is uneven at best. RealtyTrac reports that Florida’s foreclosure rate in July of of one in every 352 housing units ranked third among all states. Florida’s recovery in terms of home prices is expected to be poor short term, but substantially improved longer term. The improvement in price from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014 is expected to be a tepid 1.8%, putting it 45th among all states. However, from the first quarter of this year until the first quarter of 2017, the improvement on an annualized basis is forecast at 4.2%, which is 11th highest among all states.

6. North Dakota
> 1 yr. home price change: +7.1%
> Median home price: $88,600
> Unemployment rate: 3.0% (the lowest)

North Dakota is another of the Plains States that never had substantial home price declines or severe unemployment as the national economy cratered between 2007 and 2010. Home prices during that period actually rose 17%, the highest in the nation. North Dakota has consistently ranked in the bottom three states in terms of unemployment rate. North Dakota home prices, at a median of below $90,000 are quite low — 45th among all states. Home prices should continue to appreciate in the future, although at a very modest rate. For the period from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014, prices are forecast to rise 2.8%, only 34th highest among all states. Over the period from the first quarter of 2012 to the first quarter of 2017, the annualized rate of home price improvement is predicted to be 3.4% — the 22nd highest.