America’s Hottest Housing Markets

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5. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.
> 1-yr. change in inventory: -29.93%
> 1-yr. home price change: 17.19%
> 1-yr. change in median inventory age: -55.77%
> Median list price: $375,000

As of the second quarter of 2013, the average home for sale in Seattle had been on the market for just 23 days, the fourth shortest age of inventory in the nation. This was 55.77% shorter than in the same period last year, the second largest decline in the country. Market prices in Seattle were not rising as quickly as others, but seller confidence is causing a resurgence, according to Realtor.com. The success of the real estate market in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area is due in part to large corporate involvement in the area. Last year, for example, Amazon.com started and completed several buildings in the area. The Seattle-based real estate company that worked with Amazon.com, Vulcan Real Estate, was named last month the 2013 developer of the year, according to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

Also Read: Ten Cities Where the Poor Can’t Get Rich

4. San Jose, Calif.
> 1-yr. change in inventory: -35.36%
> 1-yr. home price change: 25.00%
> 1-yr. change in median inventory age: -64.00%
> Median list price: $675,000

Home prices are going up in San Jose, and those homes are selling faster, indicated by a 64% decline in the amount of time homes spent on the market, the largest change in the nation. As of the second quarter of 2013, the average home in San Jose, which cost nearly $700,000, had been on market for just 18 days, the second shortest median inventory age in the country. According to a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News, mortgage rates have become more manageable for residents, and homeowners in the area have done a better job making timely payments on their mortgages. Rising prices and low rates are opening more opportunities for refinancing and slowing the occurrence of foreclosure.

3. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif.
> 1-yr. change in inventory: -27.82%
> 1-yr. home price change: 34.34%
> 1-yr. change in median inventory age: -30.86%
> Median list price: $685,000

Until recently, home prices in the city of Santa Barbara have been declining or stagnant. The median price of the 114 houses sold in Santa Barbara proper exceeded $1 million this past June, a significant increase compared with the same time last year, according to the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. In the greater Santa Barbara area, which includes Santa Maria and Lompoc, the median home price is a still-high $685,000, making it the second-most expensive large housing market in the country. Prices in the area rose by 34.3% in the past year, the third largest increase in the country. As evidence of the region’s healthy economic growth, unemployment rates fell by 1.7 percentage points over the year through june, compared to the national decline of 0.6 percentage points.

2. Orange County, Calif.
> 1-yr. change in inventory: -36.58%
> 1-yr. home price change: 29.41%
> 1-yr. change in median inventory age: -43.33%
> Median list price: $550,000

One aspect of Southern California’s fast-paced recovery is increased investment in the housing market. House flipping, the buying and selling of a home within six months to make a profit and not live there, has increased in the region. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times noted that nearly 1,400 homes were bought and resold in this fashion this past May, “a level not seen since the height of the housing boom.” Orange County had the fastest declining inventory in the nation in the second quarter of this year. Realtor.com notes that Orange County has come a long way from having record numbers of foreclosures only four years ago.

1. Oakland, Calif.
> 1-yr. change in inventory: -34.41%
> 1-yr. home price change: 41.30%
> 1-yr. change in median inventory age: -53.13%
> Median list price: $479,000

The median list price of a house in Oakland increased by 41.30% in the 12 months ending midway through this year, the biggest increase in the country and more than 3 percentage points larger than second place Detroit. The excitement in Oakland’s real estate market can be seen in the recent purchase of the iconic I. Magnin building in the downtown area. The sale is expected to bring about 500 jobs to the region, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

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