Which cities are doing the most to become the sustainable, connected, innovative city of the future? Today’s cities demand 21st century solutions to accommodate their growing populations in ways that not only maintain the quality of life, but also improve it. That’s where smart cities come in. Smart cities find ways to become more efficient, to deliver more services via mobile technology, to optimize existing infrastructure, and to leverage citizen participation to create better land-use decisions and to break down bureaucracy in order to stimulate a creative, entrepreneurial economy. In short, smart cities are innovative cities. Seattle led the pack in Smart Economy and Smart Government rankings while coming in second behind Washington, D.C. in the Smart People category. Other cities that topped the list of the Smartest Cities in North America for 2013 include Boston, San Francisco and Portland. [Read this article]
The Texas housing market is reacting to the massive influx of new residents spurred to move to the Lone Star state in search of high-paying energy and professional service jobs, as well as low cost of living. As more residents move to Texas from other states with a higher median home prices, the housing markets in Dallas, Houston and Austin have been bolstered by rising home prices of double-digit year-over-year growth, according to Redfin’s latest report. About 2.5 million people relocated to Texas between 2008 and 2012 in search of jobs from more costly regions of the nation, the report stated. [Read this article]
Most lists of the least affordable metros in America include San Francisco, New York, Boston, and Washington – four cities that share a notable characteristic beyond their hefty housing prices. They all have solid public transit, an asset that should, in theory, allow residents to devote more of their income to housing than would be typical in, say, car-dependent Kansas City. Most housing affordability metrics, however, aren’t good at capturing these local differences. A family with a median income, buying a median home in metro San Francisco, for example, historically devotes more than twice the share of monthly income to housing as a family with a median income, buying a median-priced home, in Atlanta. It suggests that San Franciscans are willing to pay more for housing. Does that willingness mean, by extension, that more housing is within reach of people in San Francisco than we often think? [Read this article]
In a tumultuous summer in the American housing market that saw home prices and mortgage rates rise, the nation’s housing recovery was led by cities as diverse as Detroit, Santa Barbara, Calif., and Reno, Nev., according to realtor.com’s review of third quarter 2013 housing data. The survey ranks housing markets using such data as their inventory of available homes, their median list prices and the average number of days that their properties are on the market. “Our Turnaround Towns Report for the third quarter of 2013 highlights a shift toward market equilibrium that we have seen happen across the country,” said Alison Schwartz, vice president of communications at Move, Inc., the operator of realtor.com. “Median list prices, which is a key indicator in the report’s algorithm, rose by 7.6 percent year-over-year to $199,218 on a national level, and we saw a big increase in median list prices for several of these markets, especially Detroit, Las Vegas and Reno.” [Read this article]
Dena Washington isn’t the sort of Millennial we tend to read about in scary trend pieces about a “doomed” generation. She’s 28 and married, with a son in elementary school. She’s college-educated and has a good job servicing business accounts at Reliant, one of the largest energy companies in the Houston area. She’s been working there for the past seven years, has excellent benefits and a 401k. Two and a half years ago, she and her husband bought a house in Spring, a suburb that’s technically inside Houston’s city limits. In other words, she’s living the American Dream – or at least the retro dream many of us still clung to before the recession hit. Fast-growing Houston is now the fourth largest city in the country. “There’s always another job here,” says Washington. “There’s tons of money here.” [Read this article]
Following record breaking sales activity for nearly three years, the Miami real estate market saw unprecedented growth in the third quarter of 2013 as demand for local real estate and limited supply continue to fuel double digit growth in prices.
The latest figures from the Miami Association of Realtors shows that there was a significant 21.2% and 8.7% increase in the sales of homes and condos, respectively, in the third quarter of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012.
The growth in home sales was driven by a 89.5% increase in home sales $250,000 to $299,999 and a 67.7% growth in sales $600,000 to $999,999 when compared to the same time in 2012.
“The surge in sales of Miami homes and condos is driven by a robust demand for real estate from international buyers from worldwide markets and large numbers of US buyers from other states,” said Natascha Tello, chairman of the board of the Miami Association of Realtors.
“The third quarter statistics reflect a significant strengthening of our local real estate market with more homes being sold faster than last year,” she said. [Read this article]
Pro Teck Valuation Services released the company’s October Home Value Forecast (HVF). “Two years ago much of the bad news was centered on California, a non-judicial state. Foreclosures were driving down prices and there were high REO discounts,” said Tom O’Grady, CEO of Pro Teck Valuation Services. “But banks moved swiftly to cut losses, peak foreclosure activity came and went, and many markets are now on the rebound. In fact, eight of our top ten metros for this month are in California.” This month’s HVF update also includes a listing of the 10 best and 10 worst performing metros as ranked by its market condition ranking model. “Our top ten metro list in October is dominated by California, but all are showing impressive numbers. Each have less than four months of inventory and are averaging more than 20 percent year-over-year appreciation,” O’Grady said. [Read this article]
Foreclosures stayed low and single-family-home permitting edged up in October as Lee County’s residential real estate industry continued its slow recovery. There were 259 foreclosure lawsuits filed in Lee Circuit Court for the month, up slightly from 239 in September but down sharply from 686 in October 2012, according to a report by the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investors Association. Meanwhile, builders pulled permits to put up at least 188 single-family homes in October, up from 172 in September. Jeff Tumbarello, an agent with Steelbridge Realty in Fort Myers and director of the association, said foreclosures have settled into a much lower pace than they were even a year ago. He said prices for existing homes are continuing to rise in Southwest Florida, with builders able to compete well against existing homes with new construction for the first time in years. [Read this article]
The Triangle’s new home market continued to experience gains in construction and sales, according to a recent report by Metrostudy. Over the twelve months, ending September 30th, the Triangle started construction on 8,748 new homes, which was a 35% gain from the same period a year ago, when the total was 6,479 starts. Closings were up 24.7% in that same period. “Construction growth has been strong, and even with more homes being built as specs [homes built without previously signed sales contract], inventory has held steady, and even decreased in some parts of the Triangle,” said Jay Colvin, Regional Director of Metrostudy’s Triangle operations, “That’s a great indicator of the strong demand for new homes in the region.” [Read this article]
In a ranking of the nation’s top 10 “turnaround” housing markets, Realtor.com looked at median home prices, days on market and supply of homes for sale across the country to determine which markets are recovering fastest. Local economic factors are finally beginning to play a bigger role in housing again, as they had historically. Technology growth is driving housing not just in Silicon Valley, but in other markets where these companies are moving in and bringing jobs with them. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but these are encouraging signs for a return to a healthier housing market in the U.S.,” noted Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. Among the top 10 turnaround markets: Reno, Ft. Lauderdale, Dallas, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Boston and Las Vegas. [Read this article]