According to the U.S. Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), which keeps track of single-family house prices in more than 200 markets, many metro markets that flew under the radar during the real estate boom are among the hottest ones now, relatively speaking.
From 4th quarter 2005 to 4th quarter 2006, the Pacific Northwest led the way in price appreciation, capturing the top five spots. Bend, OR, was #1 with a whopping 21% appreciation year to year. Bend is somewhat unusual in that it has been in boom mode for the last five years, with an overall appreciation of 105%, but it hasn't received the same publicity as, say, Naples and Las Vegas. Myrtle Beach, SC, and Wilmington, NC, at 11th and 12th place respectively, were the highest appreciating markets in the southeast, with prices up more than 15%. Miami/Miami Beach housing appreciated 15% year to year, which is strong confirmation that the condo market there is really in the dumper (remember, the OFHEO report only looks at single-family housing). Mobile, AL, a city on our list to visit this year, also made the top 20 at #17 with an appreciation rate just under 15%.
The Wall Street Journal covered this story today and confirmed what we have been saying for months, that Floridians are moving to the Carolinas in significant numbers. Charlotte, whose price appreciation numbers are +9%, seems to be one of the most popular destinations for Sunshine Staters escaping traffic, insurance rates and the threat of hurricanes. The Journal even refers to them as "half-backs," a term we picked up on from real estate agents in the southeast over a year ago.
We feel for the poor soul who lives in Kokomo, IN, and wants to move to, say, Oregon. Kokomo had the worst appreciation rate of the 282 metro areas that were surveyed, with homes depreciating more than 5% in the last year alone. Joining Kokomo in the bottom 20 were other markets in the Midwest, California and Nevada. Price appreciation numbers from markets with communities we have reviewed, and rounded to the nearest whole number, generally showed good to very good results:
Asheville, NC (+11%); Brunswick, GA (+11%); Charleston, SC (+10%); Charlottesville, VA (+10%); Chapel Hill/Durham, NC (+6%); Greenville, SC (+5%); Jacksonville, FL (+13%); Knoxville, TN (+8%); and Savannah, GA (+12%).
You can see the entire list at the OFHEO web site .