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The 5 Cities With the Best Housing Markets for Young Adults

January 16, 2015 | By

All across America, young people are flocking to cities in search of jobs and leaving small towns and rural areas behind.

Millennials especially are eschewing lonely byways for communal subways. They are drawn to the allure of big city living, where offices, bars, and restaurants are at their fingertips.

But they face an interesting dilemma when they get there: the cities with the best-paying jobs are also the ones where housing is the least affordable.

So, do people move for jobs or for housing? It turns out that the two are closely correlated.

The Census Bureau has found that just 36 percent of Americans under the age of 35 own a home. That’s down from 42 percent in 2007 and the lowest level since 1982, when the agency began tracking homeownership by age. But a Fannie Mae survey indicates 90 percent of people would prefer owning over renting.

Is it possible to have it all? It might be hard to make it in the bright lights of some big cities, but there are some hidden gems where the job markets and affordable housing are in closer balance.

As the new year gets underway, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has looked at 15 data points (like population growth, affordability, and employment) to come up with the nation’s top 10 housing markets that will be “hot” for young buyers in 2015 and beyond.

Here are their top five picks:

1) Atlanta, GA

Atlanta began to recover much later than other markets, but is showing signs of returning to its prior form of leading the country in population and household growth, says® chief economist Jonathan Smoke. Over the next five years, the metro area is expected to see a 6 percent increase in home owning households, Smoke says.

NAR’s 2015 home sales forecast: +11 percent

Median home price: $162,900

2) Dallas, TX

Dallas is “on pace” to set a new employment record in 2014, says Smoke, and is forecasted for 3 percent growth in 2015, well above the U.S. average.

NAR’s 2015 home sales forecast: +7 percent 

Median home price: $150,900

3) Des Moines, IA

How did Des Moines, a small Midwestern metro area, sneak onto the hottest housing markets list? The median-priced home is well below the national median average of $177,600, and Des Moines has a higher percentage of Millennials — many of whom are employed, says Smoke.

NAR’s 2015 home sales forecast: +9 percent  

Median home price: $110,200

4) Denver, CO

Denver has enjoyed one of the stronger local economies since the housing collapse, says Smoke. Metro area unemployment is below average, while job growth is higher. Denver has already recovered all the jobs lost in the recession — and this has helped fuel a hot housing market. He forecasts home sales growth of 14 percent in 2015, the highest of any market.

NAR’s 2015 home sales forecast: +14 percent 

Median home price: $284,900

5) Houston, TX

With two cities in NAR’s top five, Texas seems to be a hot state for housing generally. According to Smoke, Houston is adding jobs at twice the national rate and boasts a strong new construction sector, which helps supply keep pace with demand.

NAR’s 2015 home sales forecast: +5 percent  

Median home price: $289,900.

To view all ten hot markets, visit NAR’s website.

Source: “Top 10 Hot Housing Markets to Watch in 2015” by Rachel Stults, December 4, 2014.






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