Relocation, Relocation, Relocation
Relocation is what it's all about for homeowners unsatisfied with the declining house prices and rising joblessness in tight local markets, according to survey results released Thursday by Relocation.com. The online moving resource, which provides quotes on relocation-related expenses from moving companies to storage facilities, named the top 20 cities for consumers looking for a "fresh start." Relocation.com studied the popularity of cities -- where large numbers of people are moving, indicating an impending boom in the local economy -- the housing market affordability in the area, the local economic prospects and the volunteerism rate, presumably to gauge the local level of community service. Texas cities claimed four of the top 20 slots for best "fresh start" relocation areas. Austin nabbed the No. 1 slot, followed by the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Charlotte snatched up third place while Denver slipped into fourth. Columbus and Indianapolis tied for fifth. "Studies have shown that many people don't like where they live," the online market's founder Sharon Asher said in a media statement. "At the same time, a lot of people are looking for work, whether they're unemployed now or fearing layoffs. It's a scary time, but for some it might be a good time to think about starting over." And for other homeowners either sitting underwater on a house that already lost much of its value or looking to keep as much equity as possible, relocating to an area like Dallas/Fort Worth -- where the housing market did not inflate too much during the housing bubble, Relocation.com found -- might mean living in a more stable housing market and avoiding future price declines. That is, of course, if these homeowners can manage to sell in their local markets at high enough prices to afford relocation. For those looking for a change in the economic scenery, Relocation.com found Austin the highest ranking city for its popularity, job growth and volunteerism. Charlotte boasts a more diverse economy with financial strength, for the investment-minded. Write to Diana Golobay.