Real Estate

An inside look at local housing markets across the country

Local markets spotlights 5 different areas across the country, showcasing what is uniquely happening in those housing markets. Local real estate agents, loan officers and appraisers share what characteristics are currently defining their housing markets.

Dallas, Texas

Blue wood siding on cottage style house near Dallas, Texas cloud

Recently Judith Abbott shepherded around a couple moving to the Dallas area from Oregon – the potential homebuyers wanted to be in a part of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area that went Democratic in elections and offered supermarkets replete with organic food. Their price point: $250,000. “I remember wondering, ‘What are you possibly thinking?’ said Abbott, an agent at Coldwell Banker Realty. “The people were not very realistic.” True, the median home price in Dallas is not much above $250,000. But for urban neighborhoods like the Bishop Arts District that these homebuyers were touring prices have climbed to $400,000 and $500,000. The low-inventory market, Abbott said, has forced her to steer buyers to newly built homes, even if those homes are architectural duds, or in less appealing areas. “I’m a historic house person,” said Abbott, who is 72-years-old and has been involved in real estate since junior high, when she bound her mother’s mimeographed MLS sheets into a loose-leaf notebook. “But desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland Sign and Skyline from Harbor Walkway

Howard Hanna, Jr. started his eponymous real estate firm in Pittsburgh, and his son, Howard Hanna III, now runs the operation. Howard Hanna III’s son, Howard “Hoby ” Hanna IV, the brokerage’s president, is in Cleveland and has witnessed that city’s many housing ups and downs. Presently, Cleveland agents are waiting for your call. “There are about 16,000 agents and 3,900 listings right now,” Hanna said, as the Forest City endures the same high-demand and low-inventory afflicting the country. Still, Cleveland is an outlier for prices. The median home that does go in the housing market is listed for around $100,000, Hanna said, which compares to a U.S. median home price that hovered over $300,000 since October 2020. “Cleveland is a big city that was built for a much bigger population,” Hanna said. The brokerage executive voiced optimism that urban neighborhoods, once abandoned, are starting to repopulate, but said that the area needed more industries beyond its growing health care economy.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Housing Development

“Where are these people coming from?” asked Anthony Phillips, president of The Luxury Companies brokerage. It sounds like a rhetorical question until Phillips answers, “California.” Homeowners are flooding Las Vegas from the Golden State, Phillips said, looking for cheaper properties. But so are investors, as “the regulatory structure here is more landlord friendly.” Phillips focuses on the luxury high-rise housing market, and he ran the numbers of people who purchased such condos. The broker found that of 1,867 units examined, 1,336 are not owner-occupied. Even the ones that claim they are owner-occupied, Phillips said, may say that for tax purposes. The combination of investors and homebuyers from more expensive states means that Sin City, like almost any city, is short in inventory. “We simply cannot build enough to offset demand,” Phillips said.

Phoenix, Arizona

Sunrise over Phoenix Arizona USA

Deena Semeniuk says she’s in “a PropTech and Fin-Tech sandbox” with instant homebuyer Offerpad based in Phoenix, Opendoor with operations in Tempe and Zillow opening inaugural brokerages in Phoenix and Tucson. “Zillow just hired 135 agents in the Valley,” said Semeniuk, an agent at Realty One. How much traction these ibuyers gain remains to be seen, but Semeniuk says that the companies really have shaken a complacent housing market. “There is so much dissatisfaction with the 90,000 agents in the valley,” said Semeniuk, a Realtor with Realty One. “Some agents get in the business for an easy buck.” What it means for Semeniuk is updating her services to compete with the cash buyers. One thing agents can now do to show their value, she said, is professional photography — the right pictures can lure buyers, and the agent boasted, “My pictures are amazing.”

Maui, Hawaii

Beachfront house High angle View.

“Bizarre” is the word Mark Guagliardo used to describe the housing market of Maui County, which comprises the Pacific state’s second most populous island. “We have a lot of what I call ‘Mai Thai’ buyers. People who come over here with bad aloha shirts, and they are looking for their fantasy house,” said Guagliardo, principal broker at the Hawaii Real Estate Team, which is located in Makawao, a few miles northeast of Maui. “It’s a lot of people who have unrealistic requests.” The issue, Guagliardo said, is that buyers new to Hawaii don’t understand how expensive local real estate has become. “The same property that’s $200,000 in Georgia is $1.2 million here,” the broker said. Properties are getting more expensive. Guagliardo said that he recently went back-and-forth with a seller about whether a property should be listed at $1 million, or $900,000. Within five days of going to market, the home had 18 offers — and sold for $1.2 million.

To see the HousingWire July Magazine, click here.

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