Real Estate Data for the Rest of Us

Where Do Wild Turkeys Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Ever wonder where turkeys lucky enough to survive Thanksgiving can be found? We set out to find the answer by looking at the annual USGS Breeding Bird Survey. If you’d like to find a turkey someplace other than the dinner table on Thanksgiving, the best place in the US, statistically speaking, is Roger Mills, OK. It averaged over 28 wild turkeys counted during the USGS 2.5-hour survey period. In fact, counties in Oklahoma and Kansas stuffed the top 10 list of the most turkey-populated places in the U.S.

Top 10 counties where Turkeys spend their Thanksgiving, 2004-2013
Rank County State Avg # of Turkeys During 2.5 Hour Period
1 Roger Mills Oklahoma 28.6
2 Beckham Oklahoma 22.5
3 Geary Kansas 21
4 Lincoln Nebraska 17.2
5 Kenedy Texas 15.7
6 Clark Kansas 14.9
7 Greer Oklahoma 14.1
8 Osborne Kansas 10.3
9 Russell Kansas 10.3
10 Ellis/Woodward (tie) Kansas 10.1

Among states, Kansas teems with more turkeys than any place else. Over 10 years, an average of nearly 3.2 gobblers was sighted along all survey routes in the Sunflower State during the survey periods, compared with 2.3 in runner-up Wisconsin. In fact, all but one of the top 10 turkey states are outside the US heartland – Connecticut.

TurkeyMap

10-year Average of Turkeys Observed During USGS Survey Period, by County

 

Top 10 states where Turkeys spend their Thanksgiving, 2004-2013
Rank State Avg # of Turkeys During 2.5 Hour Period
1 Kansas 3.2
2 Wisconsin 2.3
3 Oklahoma 2.1
4 Nebraska 2
5 Missouri 1.4
6 Kentucky 1.3
7 Michigan 1.1
8 Connecticut 1
9 Tennessee 0.9
10 South Dakota 0.8

We’ve also gathered the names and locations of self-styled turkey capitals in the US. Gobblers can be found hanging out in large numbers near these turkey-happy places, such as Turkey, TX; Barron, WI (turkey capital of Wisconsin); Fairview, MI (wild turkey Capital of Michigan); and, last but not least, Cuero, TX, which, perhaps immodestly, calls itself the turkey capital of the world. But turkeys are also giving thanks for their freedom this Thanksgiving in other parts of the country too. Areas of central Florida, northern California, and the Northeast also have dense populations of wild turkeys.

Named Turkey Capitals of the US
Turkey Capital Slogan
Barron, WI Turkey Capital of WI
Boscobel, WI Turkey Hunting Capital of WI
Berryville, AR Turkey Capital
Cuero, TX Turkey Capital of the World
Fairview, MI Wild Turkey Capital of MI
North Andover, MA Turkey Town
Turkey, KY Namesake
Turkey, NC Namesake
Turkey, TX Namesake
Turkey Creek, LA Namesake
Worthington, MN Turkey Capital of the World
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_city_nicknames_in_the_United_States

So, this Turkey Day, tip your hat to your dinner’s free-ranging cousin, our unofficial national fowl. Happy Thanksgiving from Trulia!

Methodology

To estimate the average number of turkeys found at the state and county level, we used the USGS Breeding Bird Survey route data from 2004-2013 to calculate an “average of averages,” whereby the state or county average is the average of all surveyed routes’ 10-year average of observed turkeys within that state or county. Note: Although the BBS consists of over 4,000 survey routes randomly distributed across the U.S., there is variation in the number of survey routes sampled in each state and county, both over space and time. As such, the actual abundance of turkeys at the county level may deviate from our estimates.

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Where Is Homeownership Within Reach of the Middle Class and Millennials?

Despite high household incomes, San Francisco is the least affordable metro, with just 15% of homes within reach of the middle class. Affordability has deteriorated over the past year in Austin and Miami. The most affordable markets are near the Great Lakes.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
November 18, 2014

Where can the middle class bear the cost of buying a home? In the past year, affordability has fallen modestly, hurt by rising home prices, but helped by lower mortgage rates. Nationally, 59% of homes for sale are within reach of the middle class, compared with 62% last October. Nonetheless, the big picture is that prices still look undervalued compared with fundamentals and historically low mortgage rates make buying much cheaper than renting. Still, affordability is a growing problem.

We measure affordability as the share of homes for sale on Trulia within reach of a middle-class household. Our standard is whether the total monthly payment, including mortgage, insurance, and property taxes, is less than 31% of the metro area’s median household income. (See note below.) We define middle class separately for each metro based on the local median household income. Thus, what we consider affordable varies from market to market.

For instance, in metro Atlanta, median household income is $55,000. Homes priced under $276,000 are affordable based on the 31% guideline. On November 7, 2014, 71% of the homes for sale in Atlanta were listed for less than $276,000. That means that more than two-thirds of metro Atlanta homes are within reach of the middle class.

Austin and Miami Join California Markets on the Least Affordable List

The five most affordable markets are in Ohio, Indiana, and upstate New York. In those markets, more than 80% of homes for sale are within reach of the middle class. The South is relatively affordable too, with Birmingham, AL and Columbia, SC among the 10 most affordable markets.

Most Affordable Housing Markets for the Middle Class

# U.S. Metro % of for-sale homes affordable for middle class, Nov 2014 Median size of affordable for-sale homes, Nov 2014 (square feet) % of for-sale homes affordable for middle class, Oct 2013
1 Dayton, OH 85% 1400 85%
2 Rochester, NY 83% 1400 76%
3 Akron, OH 83% 1350 86%
4 Gary, IN 81% 1500 84%
5 Toledo, OH 81% 1350 85%
6 Birmingham, AL 80% 1400 82%
7 Kansas City, MO-KS 79% 1400 80%
8 Camden, NJ 79% 1450 79%
9 Columbia, SC 79% 1700 83%
10 Detroit, MI 79% 1050 83%
Find out how affordable each of the 100 largest metros are for the Middle Class: Excel and PDF

Six of the seven least affordable markets are in California. A middle-class household can afford just 15% of homes for sale in San Francisco and 22% in Los Angeles. In New York, only 25% of homes for sale are within reach. Joining the least affordable list for the first time are Austin and Miami. In Austin, just 40% of homes for sale are within reach of the middle class, down from 50% last fall. Miami has seen a similar drop in affordability. In total, in 20 of the 100 largest metros, middle-class households can afford fewer than 50% of homes.

Least Affordable Housing Markets for the Middle Class

# U.S. Metro % of for-sale homes affordable for middle class, Nov 2014 Median size of affordable for-sale homes, Nov 2014 (square feet) % of for-sale homes affordable for middle class, Oct 2013
1 San Francisco, CA 15% 1050 14%
2 Los Angeles, CA 22% 1250 24%
3 San Diego, CA 25% 1100 28%
4 New York, NY-NJ 25% 1050 25%
5 Orange County, CA 26% 1100 23%
6 San Jose, CA 30% 1200 31%
7 Ventura County, CA 33% 1250 32%
8 Honolulu, HI 38% 700 40%
9 Austin, TX 40% 1800 50%
10 Miami, FL 41% 1150 51%
Find out how affordable each of the 100 largest metros are for the Middle Class: Excel and PDF

metro map

 

Surprisingly, high-income metros are generally less, not more, affordable. Housing prices tend to be so high in metros with high incomes that affordability ends up being worse than in low-income metros. Why? High-income households bid up home prices, and high prices push out lower-income households. In addition, higher-income metros tend to have less new construction than lower-income metros do. As a result, high-income metros such as San Francisco and San Jose are among the least affordable, even after taking income into account.

Bucking the trend are Washington, DC and the Bethesda metro next door, where incomes are high and more than 60% of homes are within reach of the middle class.

HousingAffordability

The Least Affordable Parts of the Least Affordable Metros

Of course, affordability varies within metros. To dig deeper in the least affordable metros, we zoom down one level to look at sub-markets – individual counties or, for enormous counties like Los Angeles, the territories covered by telephone area codes. For example, although metro San Francisco is less affordable than metro New York, the borough of Manhattan is less affordable than the city of San Francisco (see note). In fact, Brooklyn and the San Gabriel Valley (east of downtown Los Angeles) are as unaffordable as the city of San Francisco.

So the next time someone says “Oakland is the new Brooklyn,” remind them that housing costs in Brooklyn actually rival those of San Francisco, not Oakland. In Alameda County, which includes Oakland, 32% of homes are within reach of the middle class – similar to Queens (33%), not Brooklyn (12%).

   Least Affordable Housing Sub-Markets for the Middle Class
# U.S. Sub-Market U.S. Metro % of for-sale homes affordable for middle class, Nov 2014
1 Manhattan NYC 2%
2 Pasadena / San Gabriel Valley (626) LA 11%
3 Brooklyn NYC 12%
4 San Francisco (city= county) SF 12%
5 Westside LA/ Beaches/ Coast (310/424) LA 14%
6 Marin SF 15%
7 Downtown LA (213) LA 16%
8 Napa SF 16%
9 San Fernando Valley (818/747) LA 16%
10 San Mateo SF 17%
Note: sub-markets are counties in most metros, including boroughs in New York, but are area code territories in metros where counties are unusually large.

Just Under Half of Homes are Within Reach of Millennials

For younger adults, affordability is yet a bigger challenge. Households headed by millennials – people younger than 35 – are at the age when people begin to think about buying a home. But their incomes are lower than those of older households. To explore affordability for this group, we use metro median income for millennial-headed households.

Nationwide, just 49% of for-sale homes are within reach of the median-income millennial household, compared with 59% for the median household regardless of age. In 45 of the 100 largest metros, the majority of homes for sale are beyond the reach of the typical millennial household. Those metros include not only expensive coastal markets such as Los Angeles and Honolulu, but also such places as Newark, Tucson, and Tacoma, WA. Austin and Oakland are among the 10 least affordable housing markets for millennials.

One surprise in this analysis: In two of the 100 largest metros – San Francisco and New York — the median income for millennial households is actually higher than median income for all households. Those markets have industries that often pay younger people well. But they also are such expensive markets that even well-paid young people must double up to be able to live there. Many find themselves priced out entirely. Even with those high-income millennials, San Francisco and New York are respectively the least and tenth-least affordable markets for millennials.

Least Affordable Housing Markets for Typical Millennial Household

# U.S. Metro % of for-sale homes affordable for median millennial household, Nov 2014 Median income, millennial households Median income, all households
1 San Francisco, CA 16% 90000 86000
2 Orange County, CA 17% 60000 76000
3 Los Angeles, CA 17% 48000 54000
4 San Diego, CA 18% 52000 61000
5 Ventura County, CA 20% 63000 78000
6 Austin, TX 22% 47000 62000
7 Honolulu, HI 25% 56000 73000
8 San Jose, CA 27% 87000 91000
9 Oakland, CA 27% 61000 76000
10 New York, NY-NJ 28% 60000 57000
Find out how affordable each of the 100 largest metros are for the Middle Class: Excel and PDF

For both millennials and the middle class generally, affordability is worsening. Annual home-price gains have slowed to 6.4% and will probably continue to ease. But that’s still a faster pace than gains in median income, which is rising at roughly the rate of inflation (1.5% in 2013). Plus, mortgage rates are likely to rise from their current low levels. Unless incomes increase substantially, homeownership will slip further beyond the reach of many households.

 

Note: We measure affordability as the share of homes for sale on Trulia on November 7, 2014, within reach of a middle-class household. Our standard is whether the total monthly payment, including mortgage, insurance, and property taxes, is less than 31% of the metro area’s median household income. We define middle class separately for each metro based on the local median household income. The total monthly cost includes the mortgage payment assuming a 4.2% 30-year fixed rate mortgage (versus 4.5% in the October 2013 calculation) with 20% down, property taxes based on average metro property tax rate, and insurance. We chose 31% of income as the affordability cutoff to be consistent with government guidelines for affordability. Both the Federal Housing Administration and the Home Affordable Modification Program use 31% of pre-tax income going toward monthly housing payments for assessing whether a home is within reach for a borrower.

Median household income is calculated from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) using the 2009 metropolitan area definitions. Metro areas and divisions comprise one or more counties. In our sub-market analysis, we used counties or, in metros with very large counties like Los Angeles, the geographic footprints of telephone area codes.

Millennial households are those where the “reference person” (the head of household) is less than 35 years old.

Household incomes are rounded to the nearest $1000. Square footage is rounded to the nearest 50.

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Where Veterans Live

Veterans tend to live in affordable smaller metros and rural areas, near military bases, and in places with fewer immigrants. Among the largest 100 metros, Colorado Springs and Virginia Beach have the highest concentration of veterans, while Miami, New York, and Los Angeles have the lowest.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
November 10, 2014

Roughly 1 in 12 civilian adults are veterans. But in some smaller metros that figure is as high as 1 in 5, while in several large metros it’s just 1 in 20. We’re marking Veterans Day the Trulia way, by taking a look at where people who served their country in the armed forces live.

Basic Training on Veteran Demographics and Homeownership

Where veterans live reflects who they are. Veterans tend to be older. Their median age is 64, nearly two decades older than the 45-year-old median age of civilian adults who didn’t serve in the armed forces. Gulf War veterans are relatively young, with a median age of 41. But they’re outnumbered by Vietnam Era vets, whose median age is 65. Veterans of the Korean War and World War II are older still.

War or Era Served In

Share of civilian adult population Median age
Gulf War 2.2% 41
Vietnam Era 2.9% 65
Korean War 0.9% 81
World War II 0.5% 88
All veterans
8.1% 64

Note: Some veterans served in multiple wars or eras, and others served only between wars and eras. Therefore, data for “all veterans” does not equal the sum or average of the above rows in the table.

Veterans are also overwhelming male (92%), and born in the U.S. Just 3% of veterans are foreign-born, compared with 17% of the non-veteran civilian population.

Finally, veterans are more likely to be homeowners than other adults. Households headed by veterans have a 79% homeownership rate, significantly higher than the 63% rate for households headed by civilian non-veterans. Age accounts for most of this gap. As we noted, there’s a two-decade age gap between veterans and non-veteran civilians, and, except for the very old, the homeownership rate is higher for older adults. Nevertheless, even adjusting for this age difference, homeownership is still about seven percentage points higher for veterans, thanks in part to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs loan programs (VA loans) and other incentives.

As we’ll see below, these demographic differences help explain where veterans live.

Top Veteran Areas are Smaller Metros Near Military Bases

Veterans tend not to be concentrated in big cities. They account for only 6.4% of the civilian adult population in big, dense cities (see note). But they make up 11.2% in small towns and rural areas.

VeteranGraph

Because veterans tend to live outside larger markets, we looked at the largest 500 metros rather than just the 100 largest, as we typically do in Trulia Trends. In 7 of the 500 largest metros, veterans represent more than 20% of the civilian adult population. The 10 metros with the highest share of veterans have one thing in common: they are affordable. Their median asking price per square foot is below $150 in all but Oak Harbor, WA. Several of these metros have large military bases, including Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC; Fort Hood in Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX; and Fort Sill in Lawton, OK.

Metros with Highest Veteran Share

# U.S. Metro Veteran Share of Civilian Adult Population Median Asking Home Price Per Square Foot, $
1 Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL 22.3% 137
2 Oak Harbor, WA 22.0% 173
3 Jacksonville, NC 21.4% 110
4 Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX 21.2% 82
5 The Villages, FL 20.4% 122
6 Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ 20.2% 91
7 Fayetteville, NC 20.0% 86
8 Lawton, OK 19.6% 75
9 Clarksville, TN-KY 19.2% 91
10 Bremerton-Silverdale, WA 19.1% 142
Note: among 500 largest U.S. metros. Veteran share is from Census; home prices from Trulia.

None of the 100 largest metros makes the list. In fact, the largest of the top 10 is Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, TX, which ranks just 153rd in population nationwide. Among the largest 100, Colorado Springs and Virginia Beach-Norfolk have the highest share of veterans. Both also have major military bases. Even among these larger metros with high concentrations of veterans, housing is relatively affordable.

Metros with Highest Veteran Share (Large Metros Only)

# U.S. Metro Veteran Share of Civilian Adult Population Median Asking Home Price Per Square Foot, $
1 Colorado Springs, CO 18.4% 107
2 Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC 17.8% 129
3 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 16.4% 100
4 Tacoma, WA 15.2% 134
5 North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL 14.4% 150
6 Jacksonville, FL 14.0% 109
7 Charleston, SC 13.2% 134
8 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 13.1% 133
9 San Antonio, TX 12.9% 107
10 Tucson, AZ 12.5% 111
Note: among 100 largest U.S. metros ONLY. Veteran share is from Census; home prices from Trulia.

Where are veterans scarce? Of the largest 500 metros, the 10 with the lowest share include several large metros: Miami, New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco. But the list also includes Laredo and McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX, and El Centro, CA, on the Mexican border. Five of the bottom 10 are expensive markets, with prices over $300 per square foot: New York, the 3 big California metros, and Edwards, CO, which includes the Vail ski resort.

Metros with Lowest Veteran Share

# U.S. Metro Veteran Share of Civilian Adult Population Median Asking Home Price Per Square Foot, $
1 Miami, FL 3.2% 180
2 Laredo, TX 3.7% 94
3 New York, NY-NJ 3.8% 320
4 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 4.6% 82
5 Los Angeles, CA 4.6% 334
6 San Jose, CA 5.1% 430
7 Edwards, CO 5.2% 336
8 Provo-Orem, UT 5.4% 96
9 El Centro, CA 5.4% 116
10 San Francisco, CA 5.5% 613
Note: among 500 largest U.S. metros. Veteran share is from Census; home prices from Trulia.

So what can we say in general about where veterans live? The map shows no clear regional pattern. Many western states have pockets where veterans live, but California has relatively few veterans. Florida includes the metro with the highest share of veterans, Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, and the lowest, Miami. Texas has Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, with a high proportion of veterans, and border towns with low concentrations.

veterans county map

 

Still, we can make some generalizations. We should note first though that where veterans live depends on when they served. Gulf War vets tend to live in different places than World War II vets, not least because they’re on average more than four decades younger.

In sum, veterans are more likely to live:

  1. Near military bases and areas with active-duty residents. This is especially true for Gulf War veterans.
  2. In more affordable, lower density areas. Vietnam Era veterans, in particular, are more likely than other veterans or civilian non-veterans to live in small towns and rural areas.
  3. In areas with a lower share of foreign-born residents, especially older vets.
  4. In retirement areas, especially if they’re Korean War or World War II vets. In fact, the metros with the highest shares of these older veterans are in Florida.

Though their share of the population may vary, veterans can be found in nearly every community in America. If you want to thank a veteran on November 11, you probably won’t have to look far.

 

Notes: the Census identifies veterans as serving in the Gulf War, the Vietnam Era, the Korean War, and World War II, as well as between conflicts. See tables S2101 and B21002 in American FactFinder.

Homeownership rates are calculated from the 2013 American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) and are based on whether the head of household, spouse, or unmarried partner is a veteran.

All national figures are based on the 2013 1-year ACS. All metro and county figures are based on the 2012 5-year ACS, covering the period 2008-2012. Nationally, veteran share of the civilian population was 8.1% in the 2013 ACS and 9.3% in the 2012 5-year ACS.

County density is based on tract-weighted density, and quartiles were defined to be roughly equal in total population.. See note to this post for more detail.

To identify the location of military bases, we used Census data on the share of adults currently in the armed forces (which not does include veterans) from table DP03 in American FactFinder.

 

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What Home Price Slowdown? Some Markets Buck the Trend

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
November 6, 2014

Asking prices are rising more slowly now than a year ago. The price slowdown in especially sharp in California and the Southwest. Nevertheless, in 40 of the 100 largest markets, price gains have accelerated.

The Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor are the earliest leading indicators of housing price and rent trends nationally and locally. They adjust for the changing mix of listed homes and show what’s really happening to asking prices and rents. Asking prices lead sales prices by approximately two or more months. As a result, the Monitors reveal trends before other price indexes do. With that, here’s the scoop on where prices and rents are headed. 

Asking Prices Rose 6.4% Year-over-Year in October

Nationally, the month-over-month increase in asking home prices rose to 1.0% in October. Year-over-year, asking prices rose 6.4%, down from the 10.6% year-over-year increase in October 2013. Asking prices rose year-over-year in 91 of the 100 largest U.S. metros.

October 2014 Trulia Price Monitor Summary
% change in asking prices # of 100 largest metros with asking-price increases % change in asking prices, excluding foreclosures
Month-over-month,
seasonally adjusted
1.0% N/A 1.1%
Quarter-over-quarter,
seasonally adjusted
2.2% 90 2.2%
Year-over-year 6.4% 91 6.1%

Data from previous months are revised each month, so data being reported now for previous months might differ from previously reported data.

Price Gains Aren’t Slowing Everywhere

Nationally, year-over-year price gains have slowed from a year ago. In some markets, this price slowdown has been precipitous. In the most extreme case, Las Vegas prices rose 10.1% in October 2014 versus 31.9% in October 2013, a drop of 21.8 percentage points. Price gains have slowed by almost 20 percentage points in both Northern California (Sacramento, Oakland) and Southern California (Riverside-San Bernardino, San Diego) markets. Among the 10 markets with the largest price slowdowns, only one – Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, next to Detroit – is outside California or the Southwest.

Nationally, price gains have slowed in 60 of the 100 largest metros, although prices are actually falling year-over-year in only nine metros.

Where Price Gains Have Slowed Most
# U.S. Metro Y-o-Y % asking price change, Oct 2014 Y-o-Y % asking price change, Oct 2013 Difference in price change, Oct 2014 vs Oct 2013, percentage points
1 Las Vegas, NV 10.1% 31.9% -21.8%
2 Sacramento, CA 10.0% 29.8% -19.9%
3 Riverside-San Bernardino, CA 9.1% 28.4% -19.3%
4 San Diego, CA 2.0% 21.0% -19.0%
5 Oakland, CA 11.3% 29.9% -18.6%
6 Bakersfield, CA 6.8% 24.6% -17.8%
7 Orange County, CA 5.1% 21.5% -16.4%
8 Los Angeles, CA 6.0% 22.0% -16.0%
9 Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI 8.3% 22.6% -14.3%
10 Phoenix, AZ 4.2% 18.4% -14.2%
Note: among 100 largest metros. Differences in price gains were calculated before rounding. To download the list of asking home price changes for the largest metros: Excel or PDF

Where then are the 40 metros where prices have accelerated? They’re concentrated in the Midwest and the South. Prices gains have accelerated most in Dayton, Louisville, and Akron. However, the speed-ups aren’t as dramatic as the slowdowns. In no metro have prices accelerated by more than 10 percentage points. Dayton comes closest at 9.1 percentage points. By contrast, prices have slowed by more than 10 percentage points in 12 metros, including Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in addition to the 10 listed above.

Where Price Gains Have Accelerated Most
# U.S. Metro Y-o-Y % asking price change, Oct 2014 Y-o-Y % asking price change, Oct 2013 Difference in price change, Oct 2014 vs Oct 2013, percentage points
1 Dayton, OH 8.9% -0.2% 9.1%
2 Louisville, KY-IN 10.7% 2.1% 8.6%
3 Akron, OH 5.9% -0.7% 6.5%
4 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 13.5% 7.9% 5.6%
5 Toledo, OH 9.2% 3.9% 5.3%
6 Gary, IN 8.3% 3.1% 5.1%
7 Tulsa, OK 7.8% 2.9% 4.9%
8 Pittsburgh, PA 5.7% 1.0% 4.7%
9 Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC 5.1% 0.7% 4.4%
10 Syracuse, NY 4.5% 0.4% 4.1%
Note: among 100 largest metros. Differences in price gains were calculated before rounding. To download the list of asking home price changes for the largest metros: Excel or PDF

Thus, the price deceleration is very pronounced in some markets, but by no means universal. In fact, the slowdown represents continued fallout from the housing crisis. Metros where the past decade’s housing crisis was especially severe (see note) experienced huge price rebounds last year, rates of increase that couldn’t be sustained. On average, these severely hit markets notched almost 20% price gains year-over-year in October 2013, compared with 7.9% in October 2014. Things that can’t last forever, don’t. And double-digit home-price increases are a prime example of something that can’t last forever. By contrast, markets that had a moderate housing bust experienced a gentler rebound in 2013 and slowdown in 2014. Markets that had only a mild housing bust have seen year-over-year price gains ease back just slightly, from 6.8% in October 2013 to 6.2% in October 2014.

Still, even with the sharp price slowdown in the severely hit markets, in October 2014 asking prices still rose more year-over-year in markets where the housing bust was severe than in moderate or mild markets.

HousingBustGraph

Rents Rising Fast in the Least Affordable Rental Markets

Nationally, rents rose 6.2% year-over-year in October. But in the markets where renters are stretched thinnest, rents are rising even faster. In Miami, Los Angeles, and New York, the median rent on a 2-bedroom unit equals more than half of the average monthly wage, and it’s nearly that much in Oakland and San Francisco. In all five of these least-affordable markets, rents rose 7.8% or more year-over-year. The rental affordability crisis is getting worse in the markets where it’s already bad – and that may hold until apartment construction brings more units onto the market.

 

Rent Trends in the 25 Largest Rental Markets
# U.S. Metro Y-o-Y % change in rents, Oct 2014 Median rent for 2-bedroom, Oct 2014 Median rent for 2-bedroom, as share of average local wage
1 Miami, FL 7.8% 2400 61%
2 Los Angeles, CA 8.3% 2550 56%
3 New York, NY-NJ 7.8% 3450 55%
4 Oakland, CA 13.3% 2550 49%
5 San Francisco, CA 14.4% 3600 49%
6 Riverside-San Bernardino, CA 6.1% 1550 46%
7 Orange County, CA 6.8% 2100 46%
8 San Diego, CA 5.3% 2000 44%
9 Boston, MA 4.2% 2300 40%
10 Chicago, IL 5.9% 1700 37%
11 Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV 4.0% 2050 35%
12 Baltimore, MD 8.4% 1550 35%
13 Denver, CO 14.3% 1550 33%
14 Philadelphia, PA 7.7% 1600 33%
15 Seattle, WA 8.5% 1750 32%
16 Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL 6.6% 1150 31%
17 Portland, OR-WA 5.9% 1300 31%
18 Dallas, TX 5.7% 1400 29%
19 Houston, TX 4.9% 1500 29%
20 Sacramento, CA 9.6% 1250 29%
21 Atlanta, GA 6.1% 1250 28%
22 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI 0.6% 1300 28%
23 Las Vegas, NV 5.8% 1000 28%
24 Phoenix, AZ 8.2% 1050 26%
25 St. Louis, MO-IL 5.9% 950 24%
Note: average local wage is from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for full-year 2013.

 

The next Trulia Price Monitor and Trulia Rent Monitor will be released on Tuesday, December 9.

The severity of the housing crisis for each metro is based on peak-to-trough price declines in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s home price index.

The Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor track asking home prices and rents on a monthly basis, adjusting for the changing composition of listed homes, including foreclosures provided by RealtyTrac. The Trulia Price Monitor also accounts for regular seasonal fluctuations in asking prices in order to reveal underlying price trends. The Monitors can detect price movements at least three months before the major sales-price indexes. Historical data are revised monthly. Thus, historical data presented in the current release are the best comparison with current data. Our FAQs provide the technical details.

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Blue Markets Face Bigger Housing Challenges Than Red Markets

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
October 27, 2014

The housing crisis hurt Democratic- and Republican-leaning markets similarly, but today blue markets have lower affordability, lower homeownership, and greater income inequality.

As Election Day 2014 approaches, we see sharp differences in local housing markets depending on whether they are blue or red. As the political urgency of the housing crisis fades, longer-term issues like declining affordability, low homeownership, and rising inequality are taking center stage. And these issues play out differently in Democratic- and Republican-leaning metros.

To show this, Trulia categorized the 100 largest metros as red or blue depending on their 2012 presidential vote. In 32 metros—the red markets—the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, got more votes than the Democrat, President Obama. These include places like HoustonCincinnati, and Salt Lake City. In 40 light-blue markets, including St. LouisAustin, and Buffalo, Obama beat Romney by less than 20 percentage points. And in 28 dark-blue markets, including Los AngelesNew York, and San Francisco, Obama’s margin exceeded 20 points.

When we looked at housing trends in these metros, we found that the housing crisis and recovery affected red and blue markets similarly. But today’s pressing housing issues are more severe in blue markets.

The Housing Crisis Hit Both Red and Blue America

When the housing bubble of the mid-2000s burst, both red and blue markets felt the pain. The markets with the most severe housing busts included dark-blue metros like Detroit and Oakland as well as red markets like Bakersfield and Cape Coral – Fort Myers, FL. The peak-to-trough price decline averaged 16% in red markets, 26% in light-blue markets, and 25% in dark-blue markets. But the relationship between price declines and redness or blueness was not statistically significant. (See note.)

Nor does the recent recovery show any clear bias toward red or blue markets. In September 2014, home prices were up 7.0% year-over-year in red markets, 6.2% in light-blue markets, and 6.3% in dark-blue markets. The markets with the largest price increases included red metros like Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL, and Birmingham, AL, and dark-blue metros like Miami and Toledo, OH. The relationship between year-over-year price increases and 2012 voting patterns is not statistically significant. Another recovery measure, the share of homes in foreclosure, also doesn’t show a statistically significant correlation with 2012 voting patterns.

Key Housing Data in the Reddest Metros
U.S. Metro 2012 Vote Margin: Obama vs. Romney Price Decline in Housing Bust, Peak-to-Trough Year-Over-Year Price Change, Sept. 2014 Median Asking Price Per Square Foot, $
1 Knoxville, TN -34% -8% 2.1% $98
2 Tulsa, OK -32% -4% 7.3% $90
3 Greenville, SC -30% -8% 5.9% $92
4 Oklahoma City, OK -27% -3% 4.0% $98
5 Fort Worth, TX -23% -6% 6.4% $94
6 Salt Lake City, UT -21% -22% 4.7% $129
7 Colorado Springs, CO -21% -12% 4.0% $107
8 Birmingham, AL -20% -13% 11.5% $96
9 Jacksonville, FL -19% -38% 7.0% $109
10 Bakersfield, CA -17% -52% 8.2% $126

Note: among 100 largest U.S. metros. Reddest metros are those with highest negative margin for Obama vs. Romney in 2012. See blogpost note for data sources. Data for all 100 metros available here.

Key Housing Data in the Bluest Metros
U.S. Metro 2012 Vote Margin: Obama vs. Romney Price Decline in Housing Bust, Peak-to-Trough Year-Over-Year Price Change, Sept. 2014 Median Asking Price Per Square Foot, $
1 San Francisco, CA 58% -23% 9.9% $613
2 Oakland, CA 50% -39% 11.9% $342
3 New York, NY-NJ 49% -18% 4.3% $320
4 Detroit, MI 47% -40% 11.4% $75
5 San Jose, CA 42% -26% 8.6% $430
6 Los Angeles, CA 42% -35% 6.9% $334
7 Honolulu, HI 39% -11% 4.1% $439
8 Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV 37% -25% 3.2% $177
9 Fort Lauderdale, FL 35% -48% 6.9% $143
10 Seattle, WA 35% -26% 8.9% $197
Note: among 100 largest U.S. metros. Bluest metros are those with highest positive margin for Obama vs. Romney in 2012. See blogpost note for data sources. Data for all 100 metros available here.

 

 

Affordability Is a Bigger Problem for Blue Markets

Things look fundamentally different when we compare red and blue markets in terms of affordability and related measures. The tables above show that none of the 10 reddest markets had a median asking price per square foot above $130 in Sept. 2014. But nine of the 10 bluest markets did. Looking across all 100 largest metros, the correlation between price-per-square-foot and 2012 vote margin was positive, high (0.63), and statistically significant. In fact, the only expensive red market was Orange County, CA, at $363 per square foot. There was a huge drop-off to the next-most-expensive red market—North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL, at $150 per square foot.

When we plot local market home price per-square-foot and the 2012 presidential vote, we see that most of the red metros are clustered in the lower left-hand corner of the figure, where prices were lowest.

margin-vs-ppf

Strikingly, housing costs nearly twice as much in dark-blue markets ($227 per square foot) than in red markets ($119).

MedianAskingPrice

Sure, households in blue markets tend to have higher incomes. But those higher incomes are not enough to offset higher home prices. Our middle-class affordability measure, which reflects the share of homes for sale within reach of a median-income household, is significantly lower in bluer markets. Furthermore, blue markets have lower homeownership and greater income inequality than red markets. As with affordability, the relationships between homeownership and inequality on one hand and 2012 voting patterns on the other hand are statistically significant.

What does all this mean? The point is not that Democrats cause expensive housing, lower homeownership, or greater inequality. Determining whether and how the political views of voters or their elected officials affect local housing markets is the stuff of scholarly research, not short blogposts. But because blue markets are less affordable, have lower homeownership, and have greater income inequality, political leaders in Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning metros may push for different policies.

Furthermore, these local differences in home prices mean that some national housing policies favor red markets and others blue markets. For instance, the current system of conforming loan limits benefits red markets more because homes in those markets are likelier to fall within local loan limits. But the mortgage interest deduction benefits blue markets more, thanks to higher home prices and more residents in higher tax brackets. Such differences could make it harder to reform these long-standing policies. In short, the differences between blue and red local housing markets may add to the challenge of reaching agreement on national housing policies.

Note: Metro-level 2012 Presidential election data are aggregated from county-level data in the Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Peak-to-trough price declines are calculated from the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index. Year-over-year price changes and median asking prices per square foot are from the Trulia Price Monitor. Correlations mentioned in this post are metro-level, weighted by number of households in the metro, and statistically significant if p<.05. The correlation of price per square foot and vote margin is calculated using the natural log of price per square foot.

 

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