Curtis Walker is from Las Vegas, NV. He has been working as a photographer and writer since getting his start in 2006 with Jalopnik.com. In addition to this, he pursues his passions as an artist, actor, father and entrepreneur.
The real estate market is showing signs of recovery across the U.S., with hard-hit markets such as Las Vegas and Phoenix rebounding by 20% or more. New construction is beginning to start up again, and banks are lending. The price trend has future first-time home buyers wondering if they’re going to be able to afford to wait, with MSN Real Estate predicting future growth predictions of up to 44% in 2014.
When determining the best places to live, factors like median wage, unemployment numbers and real estate market growth are relevant to families looking to relocate or for retirees looking to build equity. Suburban towns, backed by strong schools and low crime, offer an alternative to popular urban centers at a cost of commute time. Appreciation is another important factor in hard-hit markets, with prices potentially recovering very rapidly.
Competition for homes can be a challenge, but following a few steps can make all the difference in moving in quickly, setting up your Direct.tv installation in no time and getting your family settled into your new neighborhood. Like many complicated transactions, preparation is essential. Pre-qualifying for a loan sets expectations. Making a strong offer seals the deal. Becoming educated in the real estate process can take some time and effort, but the reward for the educated home buyer is a reduction in frustration.
A few markets stand out in terms of growth potential, existing infrastructure and job growth.
Las Vegas is popular for a number of reasons. MSN reports a population growth rate of 1.7% since 2011, the third fastest in the U.S. Rock bottom prices have spurred a healthy investor-based market, and Kiplinger reports the city has seen a 20% rise in prices during the last year.
Jobs drive the market for these flipped homes, and the upcoming infusion of casino money is being met with a collective sigh of relief from the local community, notes the LA Times. Several high-profile casino projects are bringing construction jobs back to town. A resurgence of civic pride is leading the historic downtown area into a new era of redevelopment and high-tech industry. The Downtown Project, created by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, was funded with $300 million to feed the new technology-based economy. The benefits of low overhead and no corporate tax sweeten the deal, notes Travel Weekly.
Austin, Texas is the second fastest-growing destination for households relocating in 2013, notes MSN Real Estate. Austin is home to large employers, such as the University of Texas, Advanced Micro Devices and Dell, providing a stable economic base for the city. The lack of income tax and the low cost of living has brought waves of new residents to fill up the new condos inside the city. Living here is so desirable, blogs discouraging new residents are popping up. The nearby suburb of Wells Branch is highly recommended as one of the 10 best places to raise children.
San Francisco is a very popular city, and a difficult one in which to become a homeowner. Property tax and insurance can dwarf the mortgage payments of homes in other markets. That said, the area has a strong job market, a commendable school system and rising real estate prices. GreatSchools.org named the San Francisco Unified School District as one of the best large urban districts in the nation. The city has the leading job market in 2013, according to Forbes, with a growth rate of 4.1%. Some 6,400 employers are hiring, notes Fox Business. Cultural amenities are on par with any other world class metropolis.
Raleigh, N.C. is the fastest-growing city in the country, according to MSN Real Estate. In 2011, the city was named Best in America by Bloomberg Businessweek, for reasons still valid today. Numerous universities and museums support a cultural and social scene that thrives. The city is part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, a major center for biotech and other high tech fields. GreatSchools.org rates the city number one for education, citing the mix of magnet, charter and traditional schools as a key strength.
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City is one of only 22 U.S. cities that showed a gain in home prices since the market peak of 2006, Kiplinger reports. The research group also identified the city as a top destination for recent college grads. While Adobe, Delta Air Lines and University of Utah Health Care offer good careers, the downtown area offers living within walking distance of entertainment and a free public transit system.
The situation for home buyers is improving across the nation. These five markets illustrate the diversity of desirability in the market. Savvy buyers who do their homework will enjoy the benefits of homeownership, while discounted inventory continues to dwindle.
What’s your outlook on the current real estate market? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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