Morning Briefing: Urban homes outpacing suburbs in most major metros

by Steve Randall01 Feb 2016
Urban homes outpacing suburbs in most major metros
Most top-tier metros are seeing urban homes outpacing those in the suburbs according to a new report from Zillow. While the American Dream of a home in the suburbs is still maintaining higher prices in many areas, city living is hot in Boston, Washington DC and San Francisco with the mean value of urban homes beating those in suburban areas. Downtown Denver, Phoenix and Chicago are not far away from higher-than-suburb prices.

"This trend, in part, reflects home buyers' changing preferences, as they seek amenity-rich, dense and walkable areas that are often closer to their workplace," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. "In the future, this lifestyle trend will change some suburbs as we know them, and they'll start to feel more urban as buyers move further from city centers in search of affordable housing in communities that still feel urban."

Nationally, suburban home values grew 5.9 per cent in 2015, while urban homes gained 7.5 per cent.
 
Texas home sales, prices hit new record in 2015
Home sales and prices hit new records in Texas in 2015. The Texas Association of Realtors has released its quarterly report which shows 70,150 homes were sold in the fourth-quarter, up 0.3 per cent year-over-year. Full-year sales were up 4.1 per cent to a record 309,090. Prices were up 5.5 per cent for the quarter to an median of $195,000.

“Texas has enjoyed four straight years of booming real estate growth and record-high housing demand,” said association chair Leslie Rouda Smith, “While 2016 might not turn out to be another record year for Texas real estate, housing demand will likely remain strong and home prices will likely continue to rise over the next year. Four years of housing inventory shortages have created a backlog of housing demand across the state—particularly in Texas’s metro areas.”

Inventory rose slightly at the end of 2015 but at 3.1 months it was around half the level considered balanced by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
 
New York flippers still reaping rewards
Flipping an apartment in Manhattan is less profitable than it once was but still returns a healthy profit to speculators. The New York Post reports that the heat in the market was still giving an average 15 per cent profit on quick-turnaround units, although that is half of the 2014 average according to Crain’s New York Business.

The good times may be ending though; Compass president Leonard Steinberg told the NY Post that “you have to be very careful” when choosing a property to flip and he expects the days of double-digit gains to be numbered.

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