Friday, January 9, 2009

One hundred stable housing markets

Many of these towns may not ring a bell with you, but perhaps they should. A list of 100 metro areas across the nation points to housing markets worth serious consideration for both buyers and investors.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com
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Deadline Newsroom - Lebanon, PA? Hinesville, GA? Farmington, NM?

Chances are, these towns don't ring a bell, but perhaps they should.

They are among a list of 100 metro areas across the nation that have housing markets worth serious consideration.

Over the past year, housing dollars spent in these towns have faced little if any risk, according to San Juan Capistrano, CA-based, a number-crunching company that examines property values and housing market risks.

They are locales where both buyers and investors can cash in.

"My lament over the last several years is that people have not paid any attention to risk-related factors in real estate. The market was going up and it was 'The market will take care of everything.' That was the mind set. On the flip side now, we don't want to look at all the bad news. Well, let's point to areas that are more stable where people can think of moving to or investing in," says HomeSmartReports co-founder, Mike Ela.

Recent studies have shown migration patterns and rural locations can point to buying and investment opportunities, but HomeSmartReports examined risk factors -- foreclosure activity, property flipping, sales volatility, property history, site issues -- that can positively or negatively affect values in an area.

"There are some areas of the country that are reasonably stable and where risk factors are minimal. Over the long haul, stable areas tend to fare better from a value standpoint," Ela says.

Ela says even markets where home prices have fallen, but economic strength remains, reveal a greater potential for sound real estate investments.

Using a Collateral Risk Measure (CRM), based on a scale of 0-100, where zero is very stable and 100 extremely risky, here are the Top 20 towns scoring 1.12 or lower. Compare them with the nation's riskiest market, Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI and its CRM of 46.26.

Hinesville-Fort Stewart, GA; Manchester-Nashua, NH; Lebanon, PA; Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT; Abilene, TX; Odessa, TX; Burlington-South Burlington, VT; Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA; Bismarck, ND; Farmington, NM; Hartford-West Hartford-E Hartford, CT; Norwich-New London, CT; Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME; Grand Forks, ND-MN; Essex County, MA; Fond du Lac, WI; New Haven-Milford, CT; Jackson, MI; Jacksonville, NC; and Barnstable Town, MA.

Ela plans to soon post the complete list of 100 low-risk towns on HomeSmartReports.

Using the factors mentioned, HomeSmartReports also provides a Market Risk Score, graded from "A" to "F," based on local market factors, to rate areas around a property. Plug in your ZIP Code and get your region's grade.

Here's a description of each grade.

A - Low Market Risk Conditions exist. Sales trends are consistent and market activity is normal.
B - Some Market Risk Conditions exist. Foreclosure activity exists combined with market price appreciation which may not be consistent with a low risk market.
C - Moderate Market Risk Conditions exist. Foreclosure activity and market price appreciation appear higher than normal. More research recommended.
D - Medium to High Market Risk Conditions exist. Foreclosure activity is abnormally high. Market price appreciation is higher than normal.
F - High Market Risk Conditions exist. Very high foreclosure activity exists in the area. Very high market price appreciation exists which is not normal in a high foreclosure market. Flipping activity is present, and fraud rings may exist in the area. We strongly recommend that you seek the advice of a real estate professional.

© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist, parlayed 30 years of old-school journalism into a digital real estate news service, the San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews Group -- DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service and Web site and the Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's news back shop. Perkins is also a National Real Estate Examiner. All the news that really hits home from three locations -- that's location, location, location!

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