It’s a Tale of Two Housing Markets: East vs. West

With only one metro exception, the 12 major housing markets west of Texas saw price drops in Jan., while the 37 biggest metros east of Texas saw price increases.

NEW YORK – Real estate has always been a local phenomenon, and national numbers rarely offer much insight into a specific local market. But the current bifurcation of U.S. housing prices – east vs. west – has never really happened before.

In all of the 12 major housing markets west of Texas, plus Austin, home prices fell in January on an annual basis, according to Black Knight Inc.’s home-price index. In the 37 biggest metro areas east of Colorado, except Austin, home prices rose year-over-year.

Such a pattern of geographical disparity is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, housing analysts say.

“We’ve never seen anything quite like this where it’s so stark, west to east,” says Andy Walden, vice president of enterprise research strategy at Black Knight.

U.S. housing markets are diverging, responding increasingly to local factors such as affordability, supply and job growth. In the eastern half of the United States, Florida and other Southern markets are still attracting companies and adding jobs. Orlando home prices were up 9.3%, while Miami prices rose 12%, the top increase among the 50 biggest metro areas.

Several financial companies moved to Miami in 2021 and 2022, and their employees are still arriving, says Judy Zeder, an agent with the Jills Zeder Group at Coldwell Banker Realty in Miami.

“We still have a lot of buyers who are here that we still can’t find homes for,” she says.

Certain housing markets in the West have enjoyed long price run-ups since the 1990s, when the rapid growth of the technology industry fueled a housing market boom. Now, the cities most closely associated with tech have seen the fastest falling home prices.

Source: Wall Street Journal (03/27/23) Friedman, Nicole

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