For Americans fortunate enough to do so, purchasing a home is often the investment of a lifetime. Whether they plan to sell at some point or not, homeowners expect the value of their investment to appreciate over time and home equity to rise.
Of course, home prices depend heavily on location. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed average home price gains in metropolitan statistical areas of 200,000 people or more provided by property data clearing house Attom Data Solutions. Attom compared properties sold in 2017 to the last time those properties were sold, and calculated the percentage gain in home equity.
The gains were 50% or greater in just 19 of the 150 markets considered. Across the list of 50 metro areas where homeowners gained most, home equity gains ranged from 77% to 35%.
Because home values fluctuate over time, capitalizing on a home investment is a question of timing more than anything else. In the vast majority of metro areas, the median home sale price in 2017 was significantly greater than the median sale price the last time those properties were sold. This was not necessarily the case in these areas in previous years. Over the nearly two decades of home sales considered, homes were sold at a loss in at least one year in nearly every metro area in the country.