It used to be gunfighters would brag about being the fastest gun west of the Mississippi River, and now it’s all about home-price growth.

Fully 25 of the 25 projected for 2015 fastest growing home price markets are in the west, while 24 of the projected 25 slowest are east of the river.

“The Mississippi River now has the distinction of being the unofficial dividing line of the Top 25 and the majority of the Bottom 25 markets in the country,” says Eric Fox, Veros Real Estate Services’ vice president of statistical and economic. “All of the Top 25 markets are west of the Mississippi and, with the exception of Hot Springs, Arkansas, the entire Bottom 25 group is found east of the river.

“Of course, that does not mean that all of the markets in the west are appreciating, nor does it mean all those in the east are experiencing depreciation,” he adds. 

Source: Veros Real Estate Solutions

Veros Real Estate Solutions finds in its latest report that the percentage of markets expected to increase in value has remained constant, growing to 83% from last quarter’s 80%, with an accompanying decrease in last quarter’s depreciating markets from 20% to 17%.

The national forecast is for +2.4% annual appreciation, a slight dip from the previous VeroFORECAST rate of +2.5% for the country overall.

Projected Twenty-Five Weakest Markets

Source: Veros Real Estate Solutions

It is the ninth consecutive quarter in which the index has shown forecast appreciation, but the pace has continued to slow down.

While previous VeroFORECAST press reports have focused solely on larger metro areas, the latest forecast released to the media includes both large and small metro areas to give a more complete picture of the U.S. housing market.

 In regard to the continued forecast for general market appreciation on a national level, the trend is mostly about housing supply, Fox says. “Not unexpectedly, prices will rise where supplies are low,” he says. “In the bottom forecast markets, declining population trends are a key variable for the sixth straight quarter,” Fox observes. “Populations follow jobs, and housing supplies are often slow to keep pace with demand supported by increased employment for a variety of reasons.”