HousingWire

RealtyTrac ranks top markets for health and wealth

The winners share certain characteristics

August 22, 2013

Texas, North and South Dakota, Utah, North Carolina, California, Tennessee, Montana, Wyoming, Iowa and Arkansas were named the top housing markets for good health and building real estate wealth by RealtyTrac and Local Market Monitor.

The health and wellness report highlights important factors linked to health and wealth to help families before they decide to buy a home in a particular market.

“Affordable homeownership with significant upside, robust economic growth and an active outdoor lifestyle are meaningful factors for all homebuyers, especially for families looking to relocate from other parts of the country,” said Steve Roney, CEO and Owner of Prudential Utah Real Estate. “With two of our largest metropolitan markets in the top 12 markets nationwide, Utah is clearly a desirable place to live and buy a home.”

RealtyTrac based its health ratings on 10 factors from the company’s data across three major categories. Each factor is then compared to an average across a large number of U.S. markets. For the top 22 picks for home price appreciation, wealth ratings were included. Combining these factors, 12 markets were selected as the best markets for both good health and building real estate wealth.

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“RealtyTrac recognized that, while health is extremely important to many families, it can be difficult to choose a market based on overall health because there are many different factors,” said RealtyTrac Chief Economist Jake Adger.

Over the past couple of years, home prices have bottomed out in most local markets and are finally turning around. In many places, where prices are well below levels that are considered normal, this upswing will be more dramatic - not boom levels but the levels that local income can support. The economic recovery coupled with very little construction in the past five years will provide a have a highly favorable situation for anyone looking for sustained increases in home value.

“We are at a stage of the economic cycle where there are more positive than negative factors in front of us,” said Ingo Winzer, president at Local Market Monitor. “Despite the somewhat modest national recovery, there are plenty of local markets with excellent economic growth and good potential for the long run. These are places where you'll like to live, not just because investments in real estate or local businesses are more likely to be successful, but because they are dynamic places.”

“We've never seen a real estate recession — call it a crash — like the one we just went through,” Winzer continued. “The good news is that there are local markets where the crash is not only over, but where the lack of home construction in the last five years and a resurgence of economic growth will create a shortage of housing and a surge in home values.”

The overall health rankings provided by RealtyTrac offer an easy way to compare general health factors without obscuring the underlying data. A certain area's activity rate, supply of fast food restaurants, smoking rate, and heavy drinking rate are summarized into the category of lifestyle.

Lifestyle is always dependent on the individual; however, homeowners may prefer markets with a healthy lifestyle because habits can “rub off.”

Some habits that promote good health, as activities like running or cycling that are popular pastimes in certain markets, can rub off on residents. On the flipside, habits that can result in poor health — such as frequent fast food dining or smoking — become popular, they can rub off as well.

In the health ranking, the chronic disease category is made up of diabetes, obesity, heart attack, and asthma rates. Chronic disease rates vary for a variety of reasons. Environmental factors tend to be ignored until there is a problem. Radon and air quality make up the environment category.

“While families have many good options across the country in terms of places where healthy living is evident and the prospect of appreciating home prices is solid, there are some markets that clearly stand head and shoulders above the rest,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.