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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Best emerging housing markets in the U.S.

By Steven Talbor

Regional housing market strength varies across the nation
U.S. housing prices benefitted from rising demand in 2012
The severe financial aftermath of the housing crisis in the United States left real estate analysts and economists wondering if there would be an end to the economic disaster, but a light at the end of the tunnel was finally seen in 2012 thanks to a couple of major events.

The first sign of a housing market recovery in the U.S. arrived in the form of a long-awaited bottoming of median home prices. As soon as property values stopped their vertiginous descent of the last few years, buyers felt comfortable that it was time to get serious about scooping up real estate bargains. There was also the righteous National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement Agreement of 2012, which stopped overzealous lenders from resorting to dubious and roguish practices to accelerate the home repossession process.

Many real estate market analysts are setting their sights on 2013 being a continuation of 2012 in terms of overall housing recovery, but the improvement will be regional. This means that some housing markets will fare much better than others, and some will emerge as darlings of the recovery. Here are some of those emerging U.S. housing markets that will bring much-needed economic stability to their respective regions:

The Woodlands, Houston TX

Master-planned communities will be a hot residential trend in 2013. The migration from the suburbs to urban centers by U.S. families over the last few years indicates that people are voting with their feet when it comes to driving shorter distances and living closer to their jobs and educational centers. As downtown areas in the U.S. get crowded very quickly, master-planned communities are bridging the gap between the suburbs and urban centers.

The Woodlands has everything a family needs to grow and prosper, from jobs to schools and from recreational amenities to suburban shopping comforts. Located just north of Houston, The Woodlands is a massive residential development spread across 28,000 acres that is home to nearly 100,000 residents. There are many major employers in the area, including Maersk, Chevron Phillips, and Baker Hughes. The housing recovery seems to be in full swing at The Woodlands, and Wall Street investors are keeping a close eye on the Howard Hughes Corporation, which purchased the development in 2012.

Southwest Florida

Residential communities from Tampa all the way south to Naples along the Gulf of Mexico have experienced a quiet recovery since late 2010. Similar to The Woodlands in Houston, the Lakewood Ranch master-planned development in Manatee County is emerging as a clear leader in the housing recovery of the Sunshine State. The region was hit hard by overbuilding and speculation from the early days of the 21st century until late 2007, but the current situation presents a sellers' market of high demand and low housing inventory.

What seems to be stimulating the housing market in southwest Florida is a focus on quality of life. The region boasts great year-round weather, natural beauty, tons of recreational amenities, eco-friendly home building, great schools, and employers moving into the area.

Central Park West, New York City

Not many will be able to afford to live in the elegant brownstones and imposing new buildings in Manhattan's exclusive Central Park West neighborhood, which is quickly becoming home to the most expensive real estate in the U.S. This is where penthouses are routinely listed at $80 million, and bidding wars emerge amongst potential buyers. Luxury real estate is poised to be one of the highlights of 2013 in terms of housing recovery, and the princely estates of New York City will certainly lead the way in that regard.

About the author: Steven Talbor is a real estate and business blogger, based in Houston Texas. He contributed this post on behalf of Remedy Roofing, who offer comprehensive roof repair for Houston homes.

* Image attribution: mikecogh; CC BY SA-2.0