South Tops Annual 25 Real Estate Market Forecasts

Nine of the nation’s strongest remaining real estate markets still appreciating are located in the southern part of the nation, according to a study conducted by Real Estate, an information driven website, which provides real estate news and local market forecasts on all 50 US states.

Lakeland, Florida, long regarded as a retirement haven, which has seen a booming real estate market for more than five years tops the website’s annual list of the Top 25 US real estate markets. The website economists predict Lakeland will complete 2006 with 13% in appreciation on a median price of just $170,000.

El Centro, California located in the heart of California’s rich agricultural farmland in Imperial Valley tied for second at 12.0% appreciation by year’s end. The El Centro housing market has been fueled by first time home buyers, many of whom are citizens of Mexico awaiting US citizenship through expected changes in US immigration laws. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho tied for the second position in the annual appreciation forecast at 12% on a median price of $118,000.

South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky remain strongly appreciating real estate markets nationally. The south-east is experiencing the largest population growth and migration of new residents in history, due in part to changing weather patterns and increasingly severe winter weather in northern states.

Jackson, Tennessee will finish 2006 with 8.0% appreciation on average in a housing market that has barley slowed down from its rapid pace of 2005. The median price for a single family home in Jackson is just $86,000, fueling a market of home buyers who are looking for less expensive housing than in many other parts of the nation.

The Memphis, Tennessee market is also still reporting heavy sales volume, but not at the rapid pace of a year earlier. Memphis is forecast to finish 2006 with 7.7% in appreciation.

Other southern states with still high flying markets include Bowling Green, Kentucky where the median price of $128,000 can buy a home of more than 2,000 square feet.

Monroe, Louisiana has seen a post hurricane Katrina boom of its own and will finish 2006 with a spike of 7.6% in appreciation. Many residents of the New Orleans area, severely devastated by hurricane Katrina nearly a year ago, have moved out of the New Orleans area to Monroe, which is located in the northern part of Louisiana.

Charleston and Charlotte, South Carolina are experiencing the largest growth in the communities histories. Many retirees are moving to both area’s because of more affordable housing and tax advantages.

Cities in western states also made the website’s top 25 appreciating real estate markets, including some in Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Idaho. Boise, Idaho, which is forecast to double in size over the next ten years, tied for the seventh position in the annual appreciation forecast with Bend, Oregon at 8.5%. Little Bend has seen a second home market develop never experienced before in Oregon, mainly due to the area’s success attracting winter snow skiers and it’s less expensive housing compared to neighboring California. The median price for a home in Bend is now $201,000.

St. George, Utah ranked fourth in forecast appreciation at 11.5% on a median price of $134,000. St. Lake City was not included in the top 25, but the market remains fairly strong in sales activity and appreciation.

Spokane, Washington ranked sixteenth in the forecast. Spokane has been witnessing the strongest market it has had in more than ten years and is forecast to finish 2006 at an average appreciation of 7.9% on a median home price of $164,000.

The highest priced market to make the list is Honolulu, Hawaii with a median price of $610,000. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Brownsville, Texas, which has some of the least expensive housing in America with a median price of just $69,000.

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