Best Holiday Gift for Real Estate? Metro Areas with Impressive Year-over-Year Price Gains

It’s Boxing Day and we thought we’d take a look at three markets that got exactly what they wanted for they wanted from Santa this year—or at least, from a much changed economy. Some are expected: hot markets that got even hotter in November of 2012 in the wake of shrinking inventory and a burgeoning tech market (think San Francisco and Silicon Valley). But others are unexpected, formerly battered metro areas making major recovery in 2012 (think Palm Beach, FL and Phoenix and Las Vegas, NV).

The Expected Stars Perform Unexpectedly Well

First, let’s check in on the very merry sellers in San Francisco Bay Area. This year, homes in city proper appreciated even more than expected, pushed upward by a sudden and fierce tech boom that included new firms like Twitter and Yelp opening offices in the city itself. Meanwhile, the East Bay, where property values took a severe hit with the economy’s malaise, also saw exciting progress. Silicon Valley though wins the biggest percentage increase in median home values from November, 2011 to November, 2012, officially signaling the area is back to take awards as a major center of innovation—and wealth—in California.

These ZipRealty data measure the year-over-year price gain of the median sold value of single-family homes in these three areas from 11/2011 in comparison to 11/2012.

Bay Area median home price gains November 2012

© ZipRealty, Inc.


Sweet Surprises

On the other end of the market are our surprise median home price gains. Palm Beach, FL and Las Vegas, NV made major progress this November, on par with the Bay Area in terms of the year-over-year increase. The big winner though is Phoenix, a city that made major news this year and last as it tried to stay afloat in a super-storm of decreasing home values, high unemployment, and a glut of distressed properties. But we’ve also noted Phoenix doing more than floating—the city has positively learned to swim. Indeed, Phoenix takes the award for the biggest median price gain in November of any city, the current price representing a 30% gain year-over-year.

Here are the data.

Biggest median home price gains 2011

© ZipRealty, Inc.


It Was a Very Good Year...

2012 was a good year for these and many metro areas: the overall median value of a home in the USA was up over 2% year-over-year in both November and at latest measure this December (per Department of Numbers). up from in 2011. Here’s to more of the same—but not too much more: we don’t want potential buyers to be priced out in the new year!

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Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert