Take a Trip Around the U.S. Housing Market

It’s cold and windy and although spring is just around the corner, it doesn’t really feel like it so let’s take a break from our local housing market and head down south to see how the rest of the country is fairing when it comes to home values and appreciation. It’s hard for Alaskans to get anywhere in the lower 48 without going through Seattle which has a hot housing market. Prices in Seattle rose 12% last year. The average price of a home is $410,000 thanks to growth in population and jobs. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, “Builders aren’t able to keep up, which is why home prices have increased rapidly and rental demand will be strong.” This same sentiment is echoed by Hultquist Homes, which is headquartered in Anchorage, and has new homes going up in Sunrise Meadows in Kent, Willow Place in Auburn and Brook Tree Estates in Carnation.
Further south, Phoenix and its outlining communities, is a popular second home destination for Alaskans. Home prices gained 7% in Phoenix last year and job growth was 1.8%. In general, the population growth in Arizona grew 5.7% from 2012 to 2015. My Japanese-American family lives in a suburb of Phoenix and I should have bought a new condo for $32,000 during the last real estate recession but I didn’t. Oh, well.  
Due to our oil industry, we have a lot of transplanted Texans in Alaska and many of them buy homes after they recover from the sticker shock of our prices. In Dallas, homes are considered undervalued compared to historic averages and local income. The average price of a Dallas home is $233,000 compared to Anchorage’s $364,000. No wonder some recent transplants are looking at townhouses and condos in Anchorage rather than the 2,400 square foot single family home. Forbes projects a 9% annual home price gain for Dallas, propelled by population growth and a 3.9% gain in jobs last year. Fort Worth, Texas, has an average price of $206,000 and gained 9% in value in 2016. Both cities are considered good markets for investing in residential real estate.
So now let’s head southeast to Orlando, Florida, where the International Builder’s Show has set up their annual convention for 2017-2019. The average sales price in Orlando is just $219,000 where in West Palm Beach, Florida, it is a robust $313,000. All of Florida, including Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, is most likely going to benefit from appreciation because of its high profile and headline grabbing second home citizen.
Back home in Alaska, we have an active and flat market with little or no appreciation in 2016 and none projected for 2017. Interest rates took a bump up this past week to 4.35% for a 30 year fixed rate. Many buyers are headed towards a 15 year amortization or higher down payments to offset the increased interest charges. Inventory remains at historic lows and resale properties in good condition are hard to find. New construction remains damped down as developers and builders continue to struggle with the new Title 21 Regulations. Despite all that, I’m always glad when the plane lands in Anchorage, despite the sometimes bumpy descent. Outside is nice but it’s not home.

Author: Connie Yoshimura

Connie Yoshimura, owner/broker of Dwell Realty, has over 30 years of residential real estate experience with an exemplary track record of excellent customer service and extensive community knowledge in Anchorage and Eagle River. Connie has built a solid reputation in the real estate community and she was the number one individual realtor according to MLS in 2015. Connie served as the Chair of Planning and Zoning Commission for the Municipality of Anchorage and she has ample experience on developing communities from the ground up, including such popular neighborhoods in Southport and southeast Anchorage. Her avocation is playwriting and she has a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Her plays have received productions and/or staged readings in Los Angeles, New York City, Oklahoma City and her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska where she resides with her husband, Ric Davidge, project manager for CY Investments, LLC and two poodles, Peaches and Hapa. Connie is a popular real estate columnist and her articles appear in Alaska Journal of Commerce, Alaska Dispatch News, and Homes and Land Magazines. She was featured in Anchorage’s Centennial book on Anchorage by Charles Wohlforth. If you’re interested about real estate in Anchorage and Eagle River, you could read her latest blogs at www.columnsbyconnie.com. Connie is proud to have helped thousands of buyers and sellers through the challenging process of marketing, negotiating, and closing on their homes. She looks forward to assisting you with your home buying and selling needs. She is also available as a residential land development consultant. You may contact her at cyoshimura@gci.net or call her at 907-646-3670 (Office) or 907-229-2703 (Cell). My Listings

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