Market Conditions Continue to Vary Widely
While there are few markets in the country that have managed to survive the current housing market without any battle scars there are some markets that have experienced more serious issues than others. Two of the worst markets in the United States at the moment are Cleveland and Detroit; however, they are definitely not alone when it comes to markets that are falling with no end in sight any time soon.
By and large, the riskiest markets at the moment are those that are experiencing the highest rates of foreclosures. Other factors that are contributing to problem areas include high rates of job loss and slow job growth. Markets in which the number of homes for sale is rapidly rising are also experiencing significant problems. Rapidly rising property values just a few short years ago is also proving to be a stumbling block for many markets.
During the housing boom these markets commonly experienced property value increases of two-fold and even three-fold in many cases. Once the boom ended; however, these markets began to fall and as of yet, they have not hit the bottom. These markets are also at greater risk for problems due to the large presence of adjustable rate mortgages.
During the housing boom, as prices were escalating quickly, buyers frequently took advantage of adjustable rate mortgages to obtain even lower interest rates to make their housing payments more affordable. This was quite common in areas where first-time home buyers were struggling to afford the rapidly rising prices of homes.
The subprime mortgage market is also more highly concentrated in these areas of the country. Lower interest rates at the time prompted many people to rush out and buy homes. Unfortunately, the credit profile of many of these buyers was less than sterling. Mortgage loans made in these markets during this time frequently involved subprime, adjustable rate mortgages. As the market began to fall, interest rates began to increase. Today, those same homeowners are finding they can no longer afford their mortgage payments. The result? Foreclosures have risen sharply in market areas where the boom once allowed housing values to double and even triple practically overnight.
Economic conditions in many areas have further fueled the crisis. As the number of layoffs increase, the number of foreclosures and homes for sale seem to increase as well.
At the moment, the ten worst housing markets in the country are Sacramento, New Orleans, Detroit, Riverside-San Bernardino, Las Vegas, Tampa, Miami, Cleveland, Phoenix and Jacksonville, Florida.
Sacramento, considered to be among the top ten of the worst housing markets, has experienced a drop in homes prices that is well above the national average. Like many other housing markets in similar situations, Sacramento fell victim to a fast paced market and subsequent plummeting pricing. Today the median home price for homes in Sacramento remains far above other markets in the country, despite the worsening situation. Given the large number of houses on the market; however, this is far from good news.
In spite of the situation in Sacramento; however, it is definitely not the worst case scenario at the moment. That honor goes to Detroit, where market prices have experienced a drop of more than 7%. The key factor in Detroit is the massive amounts of layoffs stemming from the auto industry. Matters are not much better in Cleveland where median prices have also dropped by several percent and inventory continues to rise.
While these markets are not showing any signs they will rebound in the near future; there are some markets; however, which are actually posting increases. Seattle is one such market. Median home prices in Seattle have actually risen almost 9% in the last year. Other cities on the rise include Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina as well as San Jose, California. San Francisco is not far behind, garnering an increase of more than 7% in the last year.