Homebuying hot spots: Where are they?


NEW ORLEANS -- "Homebuying Hot Spots" is the topic of the final panel discussion of the day at the National Association of Real Estate Editors' conference here.

Panelists are Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia, the online real estate buying, selling and renting marketplace, and Tom O’Grady, CEO of ProTeck Valuation Services, whose clients are loan originators and services.

They say a key indicator is how many homes stay on the market for longer than 30 days. In a hot market, most homes sell within a month.

O'Grady says the northwestern U.S. has the hottest markets -- Portland, Oregon, Boulder, Colorado and Denver, among them.

San Francisco and New York are the most expensive markets, but they have slowed down the most year over year, says McLaughlin. Houston is seeing a big slowdown, he said. Energy prices are key to that market.

Job and wage growth are indicators these experts look for. It is hard to get mortgages without good wages and credit scores, and that is hurting market health in many areas of the south.

O'Grady is not seeing a bubble. Lending regulations may be impeding sales with tough standards, but they also are preventing overheating in most markets, he says.

McLaughlin is happy that reporters still ask him about the possibility of a bubble, because that tells him we haven't forgotten the boom/bust of 10 years ago.

Housing will flatten out and maybe drop some, but nothing like 2005-06, McLaughlin said.

O'Grady says credit has loosened up a little, but very little. Seventy-five percent of people have FICO scores under 700.

McLaughlin says that many experts say credit must be loosened if we are going to get back to the level of sales in 2005. "But I don't know if we want to get back to that level," he said.

This reporter/editor agrees.

Troubled markets like those in Florida, a judicial state, are coming back, O'Grady said.

Money magazine online has an interesting interactive page where you can see how various markets will gain or lose home value in the next five years. Tampa fares well. Miami could have some losses.




Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: June 9, 2016
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