There are eight Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in Connecticut and they align with its eight counties, stacked in two horizontal rows with what may be considered the prime spot going to the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Metropolitan Statistical Area. That is because the Bridgeport MSA shares a state line with the New York-Newark-Jersey City MSA, America's largest metro.

That position beside an MSA now with nearly 20 million residents no doubt contributed to Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk becoming Connecticut's largest MSA. In 1980 its anchor city of Bridgeport overtook the state capital of Hartford in population.

Today, however, the MSA's economic picture is somewhat mixed. While Bureau of Labor Statistics data released last August placed it 22nd among the 25 metro areas with the fastest growing job markets for the first half of 2017, a slight decline in statewide population and Connecticut's budget woes are causing buyers to be wary of purchasing a home in this state. That may be why the latest VeroFORECAST of projected U.S. real estate appreciation predicts that the Bridgeport MSA could see property values increase at only 0.3% over the next 12 months.

While it is in positive territory, that puts it 323rd out of the 342 U.S. metro areas covered by the Veros Real Estate Solutions report, which covers March 1, 2018 through March 1, 2019. By comparison, the projected appreciation for the chart-topping Seattle metro is predicted to be 11%. And, as I have pointed out in a previous weekly HousingWire column, the bottom ten MSAs on the list are projected to depreciate or remain unchanged.

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Despite the high Bureau of Labor and Statistics ranking, our data used for the VeroFORECAST shows the Bridgeport MSA's unemployment rate, as of earlier this year, at 4.6%. That may have changed with the positive drop announced earlier this month, which puts U.S. unemployment at 3.9%. But, it's likely still at least half-a-percent higher than the national average.

Still, the Bridgeport MSA is by no means a poor area. Per capita income is $52,344, about 25% higher than its state, which is $41,087 and 150% that of the average for the nation, which is $31,128. Its median household income of $90,123 is also about 25% higher than Connecticut's as a whole and roughly 1.5 times that for the U.S.

In addition to Bridgeport being the largest city in Connecticut, with a current population of 143,628, and the fifth largest in New England, the MSA's second-largest city, Stamford is headquarters to four Fortune 500 companies.

Another area in which the Bridgeport MSA may buck the effects of anemic appreciation over the next year is in the booming area of AirBnB rentals. According to a Forbes story last month, Homes.com used Airbnb data to determine the metros that promised "the best opportunities for Airbnb’ers to make the most money in the quickest period of time."

The research showed that the top three cities whose appeal for renters translates to a way for homeowners to turn a profit quickly, are located along the east coast.

“We looked at the difference between the daily rental prices and the daily average cost of the mortgage," Homes.com's Grant Simmons said, "and top profit producing cities were: Bridgeport, Connecticut, Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina.  With a potential difference of $175, Bridgeport was second highest.

Veros Real Estate Solutions creates the VeroFORECAST at the end of each quarter. Data is broken down month-by-month over one-year, 18-month, and two-year horizons, or at the individual property level via the company’s top performing VeroVALUE™ AVMs and VeroPRECISION™ reports. The MSAs covered by the March 1, 2018 report include nearly 1,000 counties and more than 13,600 zip codes. The SFRs, condos and townhouses in these markets house more than 80% of the U.S. population.