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articles about “Jed Kolko

Housing’s Millennial Mismatch

Asking prices are rising faster in Gen X, boomer, and senior markets than in millennial markets. But there’s a mismatch in where young adults live versus where they can afford to buy a home. For many millennials, homeownership will require moving to a cheaper market.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
December 9, 2014

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 Accelerated in November, Rising 7.4% Year-over-Year

Nationwide, asking prices on for-sale homes jumped 1.5% month-over-month in November, seasonally adjusted — a surprisingly large increase. Future months will tell whether this was a blip or the beginning of a sustained climb. Year-over-year, asking prices rose 7.4%, down from the 10.3% year-over-year increase in November 2013. Asking prices rose year-over-year in 98 of the 100 largest U.S. metros — everywhere but Little Rock and New Haven.

November 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
1.5% N/A 1.6%
Quarter-over-quarter,
seasonally adjusted
3.4% 95 3.5%
Year-over-year 7.4% 98 7.3%
Data from previous months are revised each month, so current data reported for previous months might differ from previously reported data.

Prices Rising Fast in Florida, Slowest in Favorite Millennial Markets

Four of the 10 metros where asking prices rose most year-over-year were in Florida. These Sunshine State markets have older populations, and they all have a lower share of millennials than the national average of 21% and a higher share of baby boomers than the average of 24%. In fact, only one of the 10 markets with the largest price increases in November has a higher share of millennials than the national average—and only slightly (Las Vegas, at 22%).

Where Prices Increased Most in November
# U.S. Metro Y-o-Y % asking price change, Nov 2014 % of population age 20-34 (Millennials) % of population age 50-69 (Boomers)
1 Ventura County, CA 17.2% 20% 24%
2 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 15.2% 16% 30%
3 North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, FL 14.7% 14% 30%
4 Oakland, CA 13.4% 21% 24%
5 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 13.4% 20% 25%
6 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 13.3% 16% 29%
7 Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 13.0% 18% 25%
8 Las Vegas, NV 12.9% 22% 23%
9 Detroit, MI 12.9% 20% 25%
10 Atlanta, GA 12.9% 21% 22%
- National average 7.4% 21% 24%
Note: among 100 largest metros. Population shares based on 2013 Census population estimates. To download the list of asking home price changes for the largest metros: Excel or PDF

metro map nov 2014

To see how the age distribution of a metro’s population relates to home prices, we identified the 10 markets with the highest shares of each of four distinct generations: millennials (age 20–34); Gen X (age 35–49); boomers (age 50–69); and seniors (age 70 and up). (See note.) In the 10 markets where millennials account for the largest share of the population, including Austin, San Diego, and Virginia Beach-Norfolk, the average year-over-year price increase was 6.1% — below the 7.4% national increase. Markets with the highest shares of Gen Xers, including Raleigh, San Francisco, and San Jose, averaged price increases of 9.4% — highest among the four age groups. Prices in the favorite markets of seniors, most of which are in Florida, rose 8.6% — also above the national increase.

GenerationalHomePrices

The Millennial Mismatch in Housing Affordability

When young adult renters are asked if they will buy a home someday, a whopping 93% say yes. You’d think it would be good news for them that prices are rising more slowly in the markets where they currently live. Not so fast though. Prices might be rising more slowly in millennials’ favorite metros. But affordability is nonetheless a big challenge in those markets.

To see this, compare the millennial population share in each metro with the percentage of homes for sale that a typical millennial household can afford (from our most recent Middle Class Affordability report — see note below on how we define affordability). In metros with higher millennial shares, homeownership tends to be less affordable for this group. For instance, in Austin, Honolulu, New York, and San Diego, 20–34 year-olds account for at least 23.5% of the population, putting those metros in the top 10 for millennial share. But fewer than 30% of homes for sale in those markets are within reach of the typical millennial household. Some markets with a high millennial share are more affordable, including Oklahoma City and Baton Rouge, but they’re the exception (see note).

LiveVsAfford[2]

Call it the “millennial mismatch.” Millennials can afford markets where they don’t live, but they can’t afford many of the markets where they do live. Many millennials who hope to buy someday will be priced out of the market where they live now. They’ll face a tough choice: Do they keep renting or move to a cheaper market?

Rents Gains Easing Slightly in Most Large Markets

Rents continued to climb. Nationwide, rents rose 6.1% year-over-year in November. Still, rent gains have cooled since August in 14 of the 25 largest rental markets, including the Northern California markets of San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento. In November, Denver had the steepest increases in the country, though the typical two-bedroom unit there still rents for less than half of what it would cost in San Francisco or New York. But rent increases could slow next year if new apartment construction finally catches up with demand.

Rent Trends in the 25 Largest Rental Markets
# U.S. Metro Y-o-Y % change in rents, Nov 2014 Y-o-Y % change in rents, Aug 2014 Median rent for 2-bedroom, Nov 2014
1 Denver, CO 14.2% 12.7% 1550
2 San Francisco, CA 12.2% 13.4% 3600
3 Oakland, CA 11.9% 14.3% 2450
4 Baltimore, MD 9.3% 8.1% 1550
5 Phoenix, AZ 8.5% 8.1% 1050
6 New York, NY-NJ 8.3% 5.4% 3400
7 Sacramento, CA 8.2% 13.4% 1200
8 Portland, OR-WA 7.8% 3.5% 1300
9 Philadelphia, PA 7.5% 9.2% 1550
10 Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL 7.4% 5.5% 1150
11 Miami, FL 7.3% 9.0% 2300
12 Los Angeles, CA 7.3% 8.2% 2500
13 Seattle, WA 7.3% 8.5% 1750
14 Orange County, CA 7.3% 4.7% 2100
15 St. Louis, MO-IL 7.3% 6.3% 950
16 Las Vegas, NV 6.5% 5.4% 950
17 Chicago, IL 5.9% 7.2% 1700
18 Riverside-San Bernardino, CA 5.8% 6.1% 1550
19 Dallas, TX 5.7% 4.5% 1400
20 Atlanta, GA 5.6% 7.5% 1200
21 Houston, TX 4.2% 4.2% 1400
22 San Diego, CA 4.0% 6.5% 2000
23 Boston, MA 3.8% 4.5% 2300
24 Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV 3.4% 3.6% 2000
25 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI 1.8% 1.7% 1300
Note: among 100 largest metros. Population shares based on 2013 Census population estimates. To download the list of rent price changes for the largest metros: Excel or PDF

Note: Data on share of metro population in each age group are from the Census’s 2013 county population estimates. Because the Census reports county population estimates by age in 5-year buckets (20–24, 25–29, etc.), we defined the four age groups as 20–34 (millennials), 35–49 (Gen X), 50–69 (boomers), and 70+ (seniors).

The correlation for the data shown in the scatterplot between millennial share and homeownership affordability for millennials is -0.28 (-0.48 when weighted by metro number of households), which is statistically significant at the 5% level.

We measure affordability as the share of homes for sale on Trulia within reach of the typical millennial 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 income for households headed by millennials. The total monthly cost includes the mortgage payment assuming a 4.2% 30-year fixed rate mortgage 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.

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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Housing in 2015: Consumers Upbeat, but Recovery Faces a Tricky Handoff

Consumers think 2015 will be a better year than 2014, especially for selling a home. But the recovery will slow as the rebound effect fades before fundamentals become strong. Key markets to watch are in the Northeast, South, and West.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist
December 3, 2014

What does 2015 have in store for the housing market? Nine years after the housing bubble peaked and three years after home prices bottomed, the boom and bust still cast a long shadow. None of the five measures we track in our Housing Barometer is back to normal yet, though three are getting close. The rebound effect drove the recovery after the bust, but is now fading. Prices are no longer significantly undervalued and investor demand is falling. Ideally, strong economic and demographic fundamentals like job growth and household formation would take up the slack. But the virtuous cycle of gains in jobs and housing is relatively weak, and that will slow the recovery in 2015. All the same, consumers are optimistic, according to our survey of 2,008 American adults conducted November 6-10, 2014.

Consumers Expect 2015 To Be Better, Especially for Selling a Home

Consumers are as optimistic about the housing market as at any point since the recovery started. Nearly three-quarters — 74% — of respondents agreed that home ownership was part of achieving their personal American Dream – the same level as in our 2013 Q4 survey and slightly above the levels of the three previous years. For young adults, the dream has revived: 78% of 18-34 year-olds answered yes to our American Dream question, up from 73% in 2013 Q4 and a low of 65% in 2011 Q3.

AmericanDream

Furthermore, 93% of young renters plan to buy a home someday. That’s unchanged from 2012 Q4 despite rising home prices and worsening affordability.

Which real estate activities do consumers think will improve in 2015? All of them – but especially selling. Fully 36% said 2015 will be much or a little better than 2014 for selling a home. Just 16% said 2015 will be much or a little worse, a difference of 20 percentage points. The rest of the respondents said 2015 would be neither better nor worse, or weren’t sure. More consumers said 2015 will be better than 2014 for buying too. But the margin over those who said 2015 will be worse was not as wide.

BetterorWorse

Despite this optimism, barriers remain to homeownership. Saving for a down payment is still the highest hurdle, as it was last year, followed by poor credit and qualifying for a mortgage. Not having a stable job has become considerably less of an obstacle, dropping to 24% this year compared with 36% last year thanks to the recovering job market. But affordability has become a bigger obstacle. Some 32% of respondents cited rising home prices, compared with 22% last year.

BiggestObstacle

Housing Recovery in 2015: Rebound Effect to Fade Before Fundamentals Can Take Over

Different engines power each stage of the housing recovery. During the early years – roughly 2012 to 2014 – the rebound effect drove the recovery. Investors and other buyers scooped up undervalued homes and took advantage of foreclosures and short sales, boosting overall sales volumes. Local markets hit hardest in the housing bust posted the largest price rebounds. Now, though, the rebound effect is fading. Price levels and price changes are both approaching normal, foreclosure inventories are dwindling, and investors are pulling back. This is inevitable as the market improves and therefore shifts to slower, more sustainable price increases and a healthier mix of home sales.

So what replaces the rebound effect in the next stage of the housing recovery? The market increasingly depends on fundamentals such as job growth, rising incomes, and more household formation. But here’s the hitch: These fundamental drivers of supply and demand haven’t returned to full strength. They aren’t able to fully take the reins from the rebound effect. Importantly, the share of young adults with jobs is still less than halfway back to normal, many young adults are still living with their parents, and income growth is sluggish. This points to a tricky handoff, and means housing activity in 2015 might disappoint by some measures, though the rental market will remain vigorous.

Here’s what we expect:

  • Price gains slow, but affordability worsens. Price gains slowed in 2014 and we’ll see more of the same in 2015. In October 2014, prices increased4% year-over-year, down from 10.6% in October 2013. The slowdown has been especially sharp in metros that had a severe housing bust followed by a big rebound. Now, prices nationwide are just 3% undervalued relative to fundamentals. That leaves fewer bargains and scant room for prices to rise without becoming overvalued. What’s more, with consumers expecting 2015 to be a better year to sell than 2014, more homes should come onto the market, cooling prices further. Nevertheless, despite slowing price gains, home-buying affordability will worsen in 2015 for two reasons. First, even these smaller price increases will almost surely outpace income growth. In 2013, incomes rose just 1.8% year-over-year in nominal terms, and a negligible 0.3% after adjusting for inflation. Second, the strengthening economy and the Fed’s response should push up mortgage rates.
  • The rental market will keep burning bright. Next year will see strong rental demand and lots of new supply. The demand will come from young people leaving homes belonging to parents or roommates and renting their own places. Until now, they’ve been slow to leave the nest. But the 2014 job gains for 25-34 year-olds should lead to the rise in household formation we’ve been waiting years for. At the same time, the 2014 apartment construction boom will mean more supply in 2015 since multi-unit buildings take about a year to build. Will rent gains slow? Probably – provided that this new supply keeps up with formation of renter households. This surge of renters will probably cause the homeownership rate to fall. To be sure, the ranks of homeowners will probably rise. But an even larger number of young adults will enter the housing market as renters.
  • Single-family starts and new home sales could disappoint. While apartment construction is breaking records, single-family housing starts and new home sales are still not much better than half of normal levels. They’ll improve in 2015, but not as much as we’d like. Our consumer survey suggests more people will try to sell existing homes. That would add to the supply on the market and possibly reduce demand for new homes. Also, the strongest source of housing demand will be young people getting jobs and forming households. But they’ll be moving into rentals and saving for a down payment rather than buying homes right away. Finally, the vacancy rate for single-family homes is still near its recession high, which discourages new construction. The apartment construction boom shows that where there’s demand, builders will build. But buyer demand for single-family homes simply hasn’t recovered enough to support near-normal levels of single-family starts or new home sales.

If these predictions for 2015 sound similar to our predictions for 2014, you’re right. As the rebound effect fades and fundamentals take over, the recovery gets slower and the market starts to look more similar from one year to the next. But there’s good news here. Even though the recovery remains unfinished, the housing market is becoming more stable and more certain for buyers, sellers, and renters.

Markets to Watch in 2015

As the rebound effect fades, our 10 markets to watch have strong fundamentals for housing activity. These include solid job growth, which fuels housing demand, and a low vacancy rate, which spurs construction. We gave a few extra points to markets with a higher share of millennials. These young adults are getting back to work and that will drive household formation and rental demand. We didn’t include markets where prices looked at least 5% overvalued in our latest Bubble Watch report. Here are our markets to watch, in alphabetical order:

  1. Boston, MA
  2. Dallas, TX
  3. Fresno, CA
  4. Middlesex County, MA
  5. Nashville, TN
  6. New York, NY-NJ
  7. Raleigh, NC
  8. Salt Lake City, UT
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Seattle, WA

 

MarketstoWatch

These markets are spread across the country: Boston, Middlesex County (just west of Boston), and New York in the Northeast; Dallas, Nashville, and Raleigh in the South (the Census considers Texas part of the South); and Fresno, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Seattle in the West. No Midwestern metros make the list because they generally have slower job growth and higher vacancy rates than other markets, even though many are quite affordable and prices are rebounding.

In 2015, more markets will settle back into their long-term housing patterns. Fast-growing markets that boomed last decade, collapsed in the bust, and then rebounded are now leveling off. Even the markets that have been slowest to recover and have struggled longest are seeing foreclosure inventories decline and the sales mix moving back toward normal.

At the same time, first-time homeownership, single-family starts, and new home sales won’t come close to fully recovering in 2015. But if 2015 brings strong job growth, big income gains, and the long-awaited jump in household formation, then 2016 could be the year when we see a major turnaround in homeownership and single-family construction.

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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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