Hottest Summer Housing Markets
July 8, 2016 / Valerie Tucker Ausband, Regional Vice President—Southeast
Summer rivals the spring as the busiest home selling season. In 2015, the spring months trailed July and September in sales of existing homes, and August was strong, too.
The summer selling season is expected to be extremely busy after a spring in which home sales were already up 10 percent over the same period of 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index.
But that's only the start of where housing can go. Summer 2016 may just exceed the flurry of activity seen this spring home buying season.
Florida Atlantic University professor Ken Johnson, associate dean of FAU's College of Business, recently made headlines for predicting this summer would prove the hottest time for buying and selling a home. Why not? Sellers, particularly those with children, want to close deals. Buyers want choices, and now they'll have them.
Where will the summer surge occur? The West Coast looks especially hot in the warm months ahead, but there's no one market hoarding all the riches. Rather, the summer's notable housing markets are all over the country. Take a look:
California feels the heat
In late May, Realtor.com put together a list of the top 10 hottest markets in the country. Seven California cities made the cut. Vallejo, California, where the average sticker price runs about $320,000, well above the national median ($187,000, according to recent data from Zillow), took the top spot.
Unsurprisingly, San Francisco placed a close second. The City by the Bay's median home price topped seven figures back in 2014, but despite whispers of a bubble, it seems that wealthy Silicon Valley buyers aren't too put off by bidding wars and soaring prices.
Santa Rosa, Stockton, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose were the other California cities chosen for Realtor.com's list. But it's a city to the east that seems truly hot to the touch.
Denver unseats San Francisco
What is a hot housing market, exactly? According to Redfin, it's one where homes are most likely to sell within two weeks. With that measure in mind, the company's June Hottest Housing Market report determined Denver—not longstanding champion San Francisco—was the hottest market of summer 2016.
Nearly 70 percent of homes listed this year in Denver were set to sell within two weeks.
Why the upset? Nearly 70 percent of homes listed this year in Denver were forecast to sell within 14 days. By comparison, Redfin could label only 43 percent of homes in San Francisco as Hot Homes. Of course, Seattle and Portland, OR, weren't too far behind Denver, with 68.5 percent and about 64 percent of homes defined as hot, respectively.
Where millennials are buying
Many home buyers under the age of 35 can't afford homes in the hottest of markets. There are too many financial obstacles (student loan debt, high initial down payments, climbing rent) keeping them out of cities like San Francisco.
Instead, young adults are moving to markets where employment opportunities favor them and the incomes necessary for homeownership are reasonable. The NAR recently compiled a list of the hottest purchase markets for millennials with these factors in mind.
Austin, TX; Raleigh, NC; and, surprisingly, Denver and Seattle, found their way to the top of the NAR's list. Strong job markets draw millennials to the larger metro areas, while middle-tier cities promise economic growth and affordability.
Valerie Tucker Ausband is United Guaranty's Regional Vice President for the Southeast. She has more than 20 years of mortgage industry experience. Valerie joined United Guaranty in 1999 as an Account Executive after having served in a similar role for an Atlanta-based title company. Valerie was named United Guaranty's Vice President for National Accounts in 2004, and she was promoted to Regional Vice President in 2006. Ausband, who lives and works in the Atlanta area, is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She has earned the Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) designation from the Mortgage Bankers Association. She is active with the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia and has held a number of leadership roles in the organization over the years.
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