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February 15, 2008

« U.S. News and World Report on Who's Your City? | Main | Simple Methods »

The NYTimes reports on new real estate data which show a deep divide in the real estate market. About half of all U.S. metros continue to experience housing price increases while the other half remain mired in decline.  The piece highlights Austin, Texas:

Consider the experience of one Austin resident, Dan Clark. Forced by a job change to put his house here on the market, he wondered whether he would get anything like the $385,000 he paid for it a year ago. He was floored when the second potential buyer to look at the place snapped it up for $429,000. “Manna from heaven,” he said.

Many people are aware that a handful of big-city markets, like Manhattan and San Francisco, have largely resisted the real estate slide. It is less widely known that the same thing is true in scores of smaller markets ...

“When I read about the national real estate market, I feel fortunate I am in Austin,” said Shara Parker, a real estate agent who is happy she turned down a chance four years ago to relocate to Las Vegas, which was booming then and is sinking now. “Our highs are not as high and our lows are not as low.”

Austin ranked 1st on our creativity index. The data are here if folks want to have a look or do some comparative analysis.

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Comments

Michael Wells

The most interesting quote in the Times article is this: "In figures released on Thursday covering 150 metropolitan areas, the National Association of Realtors said that median home prices were falling in 77 markets — but rising in 73."

So there's basically an equilibrium, equal numbers of advancing and declining markets. I know this is oversimplified, but it's a sharp contrast to The Sky Is Falling tone in the media.

Of the top 10 creative class cities in Rise, five are up and five are down. Only Sacramento is down more than 7%.

Brian J. Kelsey

I work for a regional planning agency here in Austin. It is true that Austin is in a fortunate position right now. Civic leaders have made a lot of good choices over the years to keep Austin in a competitive position, including the emphasis on downtown living lately. But things aren't quite as rosy as the story makes them out to be. New foreclosure data released today showed a 25 percent increase over last year in the foreclosure rate in the suburban county to the north of Austin, Williamson County (where Dell is located). Austin is still extremely affordable compared to many other U.S. regions, but we have a lot of work to do at the regional level to ensure that young, creative people will be able to afford living in Austin without getting too over their heads.

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