Hottest and 'Not'-est Housing Markets of the '00s


Think back to New Years Eve, 1999.

Most of us were more worried about Y2K and the incoming Bush administration (damn you Nader!) than whether or or not it was a good time to buy a house.

If only we knew then, what we know now ... we probably would have bought in Fort Myers and have only made 0.5 percent over a 10-year period.

Using the most recent data from the National Assocation of Realtors, we were able to compile a list of the 10 strongest housing markets since 2000 and the 10 weakest. While the final numbers for the fourth quarter of 2009 won't be out until February, we think it's fairly safe to proclaim the winners and losers.

The big winner in the housing market appears to be ... drumroll ... the Northeast.
Strongest Markets of the '00s
Median Prices in Thousands of Dollars
2000 3Q 2009 Change Change Per Year
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, Pa.-N.J. 115.4 230.5 99.74% 9.97%
Baltimore-Towson, Md. 131.8 261.1 98.10% 9.81%
Trenton-Ewing, N.J. 150.9 291.2 92.98% 9.30%
Atlantic City, N.J. 116.3 223.0 91.75% 9.17%
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. 112.3 215.0 91.45% 9.15%
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Penn.-N.J.-Del.-Md. 122.4 227.5 85.87% 8.59%
Edison, N.J. 188.2 343.8 82.68% 8.27%
Shreveport-Bossier City, La. 83.8 152.3 81.74% 8.17%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. 178.8 324.7 81.60% 8.16%
Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. 214.0 384.9 79.86% 7.99%

Six of the top 10 strongest housing markets are in the East Coast corridor between Philadelphia and New York City.

Only one is in the Southeast, and some of Shreveport's appreciation can be attributed to the relocation falling Hurricane Katrina. None of the cities out West made the top 10, but neither did they make the bottom 10.

Weakest Markets of the '00s
Median Prices in Thousands of Dollars
2000 3Q 2009 Change Change Per Year
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. 97.4 98.0 0.62% 0.06%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. 131.2 129.4 -1.37% -0.14%
Akron, Ohio 110.1 107.2 -2.63% -0.26%
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Penn. 74.1 70.7 -4.59% -0.46%
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio 125.1 115.8 -7.43% -0.74%
Toledo, Ohio 104.0 88.3 -15.10% -1.51%
Grand Rapids, Mich. 114.9 97.1 -15.49% -1.55%
Canton-Massillon, Ohio 107.8 89.3 -17.16% -1.72%
Lansing-E. Lansing, Mich. 111.2 86.6 -22.12% -2.21%
Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, Mich. 80.2 61.4 -23.44% -2.34%

With eight of the 10 weakest markets hailing from the Midwest, it is fairly clear that the steady decline of home prices in that region is neither a new or a short-lived phenomenon.

It is somewhat surprising to see Atlanta and Cape Coral barely making the list, but this is indicative of how high prices went in places like Vegas and Phoenix before they fell 30 to 40 percent in the past two years.

Now, if you slap a 6-7 percent mortgage on these median homes, and then 2-3 percent inflation, you are looking at "a lost decade" for even the strongest markets.

How has your market fared over the past 10 years? What about the next 10?

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