Thursday, February 25, 2010

Housing: Best Recovery Bets - SEATTLE

As written in

Median home price: $371,000
Value lost since 2006: 15.2%
Forecast gain by 2011*: 3.8%

Seattle has become a world-class city with a diverse, vibrant economy. As a home to manufacturers such as Boeing and software providers such as Microsoft, the job market has held up better than average, with a current unemployment rate of 8.8%.

Home prices had a softer landing as well, dropping just 15.2% over the past three years, about half the national average. However, prices do tend to be volatile, according to Mark Fleming, chief economist for First American CoreLogic. The lack of available land for development is one reason for that volatility, as are political restrictions on growth.

After another modest price decline of 2.3% in the next eight months, the market should begin to turn up. Between June 2010 and June 2011, the city should see a gain of 6.2%. Averaged out, that means a 3.8% gain over the next two years*.

And while that may not sound all that robust for those jaded by the annual double-digit returns recorded during the boom, that performance will be one of the best of any large city during that period.

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