Buying home, condo or any other real estate in a market that is protected from a bursting bubble is every investor’s dream. Knowing where to look for these bubble-proof markets and how to identify them is crucial.
There are some important factors that investors should consider when searching for stable investments such as single-family homes, condos or any other type of real estate. Some of these factors include a fast growing population (which positively impacts the demand for housing), a solid and diverse economy (which impacts employment rates and subsequent demand for housing), rising incomes (which impacts buyers’ ability to purchase real estate), a developing infrastructure (which contributes to the appeal of a city or community), and restrictions on future real estate development (which limits future supply of real estate). Investing in real estate within communities that meet these criteria may prove to be more profitable than communities that are missing one or more of these factors.
A recent report by Business 2.0 Magazine identified U.S. cities that have consistently demonstrated price appreciation in the real estate market. The October 2006 issue of the Magazine identified the top 5 real estate markets that demonstrated an upward price trend over a long period time. The top-ranking cities were:
1. San Francisco, California
2. Los Angeles, California
3. Seattle, Washington
4. Boston, Massachusetts
5. New York City, New York
San Francisco topped the list with an average annual home price appreciation of 4.2% from 1949 to 2006. In contrast, the national average was 2.3%. Strong restrictions on real estate development and a limited geography helped push San Francisco to the top slot.
Los Angeles ranked second in the report. The average annual home price appreciation in Los Angeles was 3.7% from 1949 to 2006. Reductions in available land and increasing restrictions on further development helped pushed Los Angeles to the number 2 slot.
Home prices in Seattle, which was third on the list, demonstrated an average appreciation rate of 3.2% from 1949 to 2006. While Seattle made the top 5 list, recent easing of building restrictions may cause Seattle to fall out of the top 5 over the next few years.
Boston was fourth in the rankings. The city has seen annual home prices appreciate by 3% over the period from 1949 to 2006. A strong increase in per capita income contributed to Boston’s high ranking.
New York City follows close behind with an average annual home price appreciation of 3% from 1949 to 2006. A limited geography, large population, and finite number of properties contributed to New York’s high ranking.
While there is no guarantee that any of the real estate markets listed previously are truly “bubble proof,” the factors described above may help investors find the profitable markets and avoid “bubble” markets. Since the real estate market is constantly changing, be sure to seek out the services of a skillful real estate agent to help you navigate your next real estate purchase.