5 Most Affordable & 5 Most Expensive Housing Markets in the U.S.

by Jeff Reeves | July 23, 2012 6:30 am

cover 300x225 5 Most Affordable & 5 Most Expensive Housing Markets in the U.S.[1]Recently, we took a look at the hottest and coldest markets in the U.S.[2] based on a growth basis. But thanks to some great information from the National Association of Realtors,[3] prospective homeowners and interested investors can take things a step further and dive into the particulars about price. Not just price change, but also the most affordable – and most expensive – housing markets in America right now.

After all, growth is important – but the context about whether home prices are rising from $50,000 or $350,000 is certainly worth noting. Equally important is the stability of housing markets as measured by the median listing price. Since all real estate decisions are local it’s important to understand just what each local market will bear.

So using data through the first quarter of 2012, here’s a quick rundown of the most affordable housing markets and most expensive housing markets in the U.S. right now, complete with year-over-year price change and median price statistics for each metro market.

Cheapest Housing Market: Detroit

Detroit1 300x225 5 Most Affordable & 5 Most Expensive Housing Markets in the U.S.[4]According to the National Association of Realtors data, the metro area of Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich., ranks the cheapest housing market in America. The median price is a mere $53,100 according to Q1 data. That’s down an additional 2.8% from a year ago.

There’s no surprise here for anyone who knows the travails of the Detroit region. The Rust Belt economy was decimated as the auto industry (and related manufacturing) contracted during the financial crisis. So much so the city itself teetered on the brink of insolvency[5]. So in this housing market it’s “buyer beware” about more than just your real estate.

The rest of the list is a mixed bag, with some improving in prices significantly and others declining. It’s worth noting, though, that they are all in smaller Midwestern metro areas.

2. Toledo, Ohio. Median price $78,600 (down 2.3% from 2011)
3. Lansing-East Lansing, Mich
. Median price $79,100 (up 6.2% from 2011)
4. South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind.
Median price $83,400 (up 1.0% from 2011)
5. Decatur, Ill.
Median price $86,600 (up 6.4% from 2011)

Most Expensive Housing Market: Honolulu

Honolulu 300x225 5 Most Affordable & 5 Most Expensive Housing Markets in the U.S.[6]With a median home price of $602,300 Honolulu tops the list of metro markets in the U.S. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in Hawaii – and how can you not have a location that’s reasonably near the ocean?

And as noted in a previous report about the hottest and coldest markets in the U.S.[2], Honolulu has one of the lowest REO saturations in America. “Real estate owned” properties are, of course, homes that have been foreclosed on but not auctioned off successfully – so they are the property of an unfortunate lender or government agency.

The market shows little risk of cooling off, either. According to the NAR, Honolulu prices were up 6.5% compared with the same time in 2011.

Here are the rest of the pricey housing markets in the U.S., concentrated unsurprisingly in California. But it’s worth noting some of these regions are declining in value despite being near the top of the heap.

2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. Median price $552,800 (up 0.1% since 2011)
3. Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif.
Media price $498,700 (down 5.3% since 2011)
4. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.
Median price $488,400 (down 3.7% since 2011)
5. New York-Wayne-White Plains, N.Y.-N.J.
Media price $439,900 (down 6.3% since 2011)

Biggest Housing Price Gains

Fort Meyers 300x225 5 Most Affordable & 5 Most Expensive Housing Markets in the U.S.[7]When it comes to a housing rebound, obviously the ones at the top aren’t likely to see the biggest gains even if they are the most stable. That’s why the list of largest media price gains, according to the National Association of Realtors, is concentrated on the hard-hit state of Florida.

Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., is on the top of the list with a red-hot 28.1% gain from Q1 of 2011 to Q2 of 2012. This is in line with year-over-year housing data from Clear Capital that puts the Miami metro area near the top of the list of fastest-growing housing markets for June[8] (by listing price). The median price for the region was $117,600.

Others include:

2. Grand Rapids, Mich.: 19.0% year-over-year growth (median price of $96,500)
3
. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.: 16.9% year-over-year growth (median price of $104,600)
4. Erie, Pa.
: 16.6% year-over-year growth (median price of $110,200)
5.
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.: 16.1% year-over-year growth (median price of $131,900)

Biggest Housing Price Drops

Kingston 300x225 5 Most Affordable & 5 Most Expensive Housing Markets in the U.S.[9]The biggest housing drops during the financial crisis and mortgage meltdown are well documented. Regions like Las Vegas and Florida that built up in a frenzy saw their home prices collapse just as fast in 2009 and 2010.

But what about now that the dust has (mostly) settled? Well, if you explore the metro areas losing ground fastest you’ll see a weird list of cities stuck in very different locations

First up is Kingston, N.Y., which has shed -22.0% in the last year according to the NAR. It’s not one of those Long Island enclaves though – Kingston is about halfway between Albany and New York City. Maybe the pain in state government coupled with the pain in New York’s financial sector has resulted in less need for an ultra-long commute?  The median price is still a decent $156,800, however.

Here’s the rest of the list:

2. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.: -18.0% year-over-year decline (median price of $334,000)
3. Mobile, Ala.
: -14.7% year-over-year decline (median price of $91,200)
4. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
: -12.0% year-over-year decline (median price of $87,800)
5. Rockford, Ill.
: -11.7% year-over-year decline (median price of $79,500)

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/cover.jpg
  2. hottest and coldest markets in the U.S.: http://investorplace.com/2012/07/hottest-coldest-housing-markets-in-the-u-s/
  3. National Association of Realtors,: http://www.realtor.org/topics/metropolitan-area-median-prices-and-affordability
  4. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Detroit1.jpg
  5. brink of insolvency: http://www.freep.com/article/20111203/NEWS06/112030388/State-orders-Detroit-financial-review
  6. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Honolulu.jpg
  7. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Fort-Meyers.jpg
  8. fastest-growing housing markets for June: http://investorplace.com/2012/07/hottest-coldest-housing-markets-in-the-u-s/3/
  9. [Image]: http://investorplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Kingston.jpg

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