Spring 2012 Housing Report


HotPads Housing Report


Spring 2012



14.4% Spring Surge for Rentals as Sale Prices Grow 4%


San Francisco, CA - A new housing report released by HotPads finds that rental prices continue outpacing for-sale home prices across a composite of 45 major U.S. cities. Comparing weighted average listing prices of two bedrooms in March, April, and May 2011 against the same period in 2012, rental prices grew 14.4% and for-sale prices are up 4%.

Popular cities like San Francisco (+20%), Chicago (+16%), Miami (+15%), and Boston (+12%) had the highest rental price growth while Detroit (-11%), Baltimore (-13%), and Pittsburgh (-18%) experienced noticeable rental price declines. The continued rental price surge reflects a limited rental supply and an economic climate favoring low commitment housing options.

On the for-sale side, Miami (+41%), Washington, DC (+33%), and Charleston (+23%) lead the way in sale price growth while Savannah (-13%), Pittsburgh (-16%), and Columbus (-18%) saw the biggest price setbacks. With the heavy real estate price reductions in Florida over the last few years, it is a positive sign to see the beginnings of a rebound.

The fastest moving rental markets, as measured by number of days a property is listed on HotPads, appears to be in San Francisco (19 days), Denver (23 days), and Seattle (23 days) while the most active real estate markets are in Arlington (40 days), Boston(47 days), and Alexandria (51 days). These are the cities where demand and online housing search activity is the most active.

While it's difficult to predict if Spring 2012 marks a floor to the ongoing housing crisis, both rentals and for sale markets are much warmer this spring compared to last year. Job growth, government lead auctions of foreclosed properties, and rising consumer confidence may be responsible for some of the rebound. However with the upcoming U.S. presidential election and ongoing volatility in international markets, housing prices may continue fluctuating in the near future.

The data in this report is calculated based on a three month period of March, April, and May in 2011 and 2012. We looked at median rental and median for sale prices as listed on HotPads and then took a three month average for 2011 and 2012. We then took the weighted average, based on number of listings, of the 45 city composite to determine overall rental and for sale trends.

We selected the 45 cities based on a factor of population, number of active listings, and geographic distribution. While our previous reports focused on Metro Areas, we decided a more granular focus on city level data is ultimately more representative of the broader market. This study is based on a sampling of 116,000 concurrently active two bedroom rental listings and 91,000 two bedroom for sale listings.

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